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Ga. Tollway Authority: No changes to Express Lanes yet | News

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Ga. Tollway Authority: No changes to Express Lanes yet

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The new Express Lanes along Interstate 85 have been mostly empty during their first week in operation, which has left a lot of questions on the minds of commuters stuck in the other lanes on the highway.

11Alive News asked officials with the Georgia Tollway Authority for some answers to those questions. Officials declined the opportunity to go on camera and said they would provide answers in writing.

Among the questions from 11Alive News:

Q: "According to your initial projections, is use of the Express Lane at or far below your expectations?"

A: "It is too early to make any determinations, however, based on other cities that have Express Lanes, there is a steep ramp-up of usage within the first few weeks and months...what we have seen in other cities is that usage will increase as motorists become more familiar with how to use the Express Lanes."

Q: "Is the Express Lane, because of such limited use, causing far more congestion in the regular lanes especially because the HOV lane has been removed and that one was free?"

A: "Over the next few weeks we will be working with Georgia Tech to provide an analysis. Based on earlier projections from about three years ago, it was projected that there would be no discernible impact to the general purpose lanes traffic. We will have more up to date data on the comparison within the next six weeks."

Q: "With commuters complaining about the amount of money they have to spend to get in the express lanes, are you going to lower the price?"

A: "We are receiving feedback at this time. This is a new program for the Metro and we do expect to receive feedback and answer questions as motorists' transition and get familiar with the express lanes."

Georgia Tollway Authority officials say they do have plans to change or lower the fees to use the Express Lanes, but they said they are weeks away from even being able to fully evaluate how well the Express Lanes are doing.