The Georgia Department of Transportation and the State Road and Tollway Authority are planning safety improvements on the Interstate 85 Express Lane in the coming weeks.
The work includes widening the buffer and adding a 3-foot tall barrier between the lane and the remaining travel lanes from Ga. 316 to Old Norcross Road in Gwinnett County.
Overnight lane closures in the Express Lane and the lane next to it will be required, with motorists unable to enter the southbound Express Lane at Old Peachtree Road and Ga. 316.
The remainder of the Express Lane that is not affected by the construction work will continue to operate normally.
Further details, including scheduled construction days and times, will be released later.
Only motorists with a Peach Pass can travel legally in the Express Lane, which runs between Old Peachtree Road and Chamblee-Tucker Road in DeKalb County.
The Peach Pass is a device that automatically deducts tolls based on the amount of traffic congestion.
In other Express Lane news, registration in an incentive carpool program ends May 31.
Motorists can earn up to $100 from Georgia Commute Options, a DOT program designed to aid commuters and others take advantage of commute alternatives, and another $100 in Peach Pass toll credits.
To participate, drivers must sign up for Georgia Commute Options’ $3 a Day program and log their I-85 Express Lane commutes over a 90-day period.
By logging their commutes, those who already carpool and ride in the I-85 Express Lane will be entered in a random monthly drawing to win $25 prizes from Georgia Commute Options and/or $25 in toll credits.
Signing up means creating a profile with Georgia Commute Options and providing your eight-digit Peach Pass transponder number.
DOT suspends lane closures during Memorial Day weekend
To ease Memorial Day weekend traffic congestion, the DOT is suspending construction-related lane closures on interstates and major state routes from noon Friday to 5 a.m. Tuesday.
“We hope the suspension of major construction work will allow motorists to get to and from their holiday destinations with less congestion and less aggravation,” construction director Jeff Baker said.
Heavy holiday traffic is expected and crews may still be working near highways.
Safety concerns may require some long-term lane closures to remain in place. Also, emergency lane closures could happen at any time.
With traffic deaths in Georgia up an average of 25 percent compared to last year, the DOT is urging drivers to wear their seatbelts, stay off the phone and focus on driving.
Jeff Gill covers transportation issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: