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Eyes on the Road: Meetings set to detail end of Ga. 400 tolls

POSTED: September 23, 2013 12:21 a.m.

The State Road and Tollway Authority plans to hold four public information sessions — including two in Cumming — to provide details on tolls ending in December on the Ga. 400 Extension from Interstate 285 to Interstate 85 in Fulton County.

Ga. 400 also runs through Forsyth and Dawson counties before ending at Ga. 60 in Lumpkin County.

The project also would involve demolition of the Ga. 400 Toll Plaza.

The Forsyth County sessions are set for 5-8 p.m. Oct. 3 at Central Park Recreation Center, 2300 Keith Bridge Road, and 4-7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Piney Grove Middle School, 8135 Majors Road. The other meetings are scheduled for Tuesday in Alpharetta and Oct. 24 in Atlanta.

During the meetings, the public can learn more about preliminary plans for the end of toll collections and the demolition of the toll booths. No formal presentations are planned, but transportation officials will be available to share information.

Those attending also can get information from other transportation agencies, including MARTA, Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Clean Air Campaign.

The total cost for the demolition project is $4.5 million. Southeastern Site Development Inc. of Newnan has been contracted for the construction part of the project and will be managed through the Georgia Department of Transportation.

Removal and modifications of some signs will begin in October. Toll booth demolition is set to be completed by spring.

The Ga. 400 Extension was completed in 1993. In July 2012, Gov. Deal announced the state would pay off its bond debt, some four years ahead of schedule, and end tolls by December 2013.

Deal made the announcement a couple of weeks before a regional sales tax vote that would fund future improvements to the state’s highways — a referendum that would be soundly defeated in nine of 12 regions throughout Georgia, including ones featuring counties in metro Atlanta and the Georgia Mountains.

At the time, Deal said he hoped the announcement would bolster the public’s faith in such projects.

DOT releases safety videos

The DOT is promoting a series of educational safety videos in support of the Federal Highway Administration’s “Toward Zero Deaths” national initiative to reduce highway deaths.

The DriveSmart videos, which encourage drivers to focus on driving safely and courteously, can be viewed on the DOT website and YouTube.

“We are gratified by the continuing progress being made in reducing fatal accidents on Georgia highways,” Commissioner Keith Golden said.

“This educational video outreach is part of our overall effort,” work tied to the Governor’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan, a data-driven program “through which we focus on key safety initiatives attainable through ... education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services,” Golden said.

The number of highway deaths has dropped to 1,199 in 2012, compared to 1,748 in 2005.

Also, Golden said, DOT projects are designed and built to meet or exceed federal safety guidelines.

“There is a broad array of efforts our Office of Traffic Operations is refining and utilizing to improve safety and reduce fatalities, injuries and crashes,” he said.

Golden cited a few examples, including roundabout intersections, increased use of cable barrier on interstate highways and freeways, raised center median barriers, rumble strips and more reflective signs and striping.

Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

jgill@gainesvilletimes.com

facebook.com/jeffagill

@JeffGTimes


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