Georgia Officials Propose Semi-Only Lanes In An Effort to Ease Traffic
Truck only lanes for the most pare are a rare sight in the United States; however, with the rapid increase in truck travel in key locations in the U.S., especially near major ports and intermodal centers, truck only lanes are being considered in more locations to facilitate traffic flow and reduce the potential for truck-auto crashes.
In fact, the state of Georgia is currently considering such a measure. According to the AJC, the state plans to spend $2 billion to build truck-only lanes along 40 miles of I-75 between Macon and McDonough.
It will be the largest truck-only project in the nation and is expected to cost $2 billion. When the roadway is completed – expected in 2030 – the state may consider adding additional truck-only lanes in the opposite direction.
The concept reportedly has never been tried before in the U.S., at least not on this scale. Top state officials are convinced the truck lanes will reduce congestion and make the interstate safer.
The truck lanes are part of a plan to invest billions of dollars in new road projects over the next decade. The construction will be paid for with proceeds from a mix of new taxes and fees imposed as part of a sweeping transportation funding bill (House Bill 170) that took effect July 1, 2015.
According to The Telegraph, states from the East Coast to the West have studied truck-only lanes, but there are only a few limited stretches of non-tolled, barrier-separated lanes.
This is not the first time Georgia officials have considered truck-only lanes. A 2008 GDOT report slammed brakes on the idea of a system of truck-only lanes on metro Atlanta’s freeways, saying it was a costly plan that would primarily benefit the small number of trucks that travel during rush hours. It suggested, though, that on I-75 from Chattanooga to Macon, truck-only lanes had “preliminary merit.”
Funding for this latest project would come from Georgia’s gas tax and possibly federal funds, officials said. The lanes would be the first of their kind on a large scale, said Ed Crowell, president of the Georgia Motor Trucking Association. Several states have studied truck-only lanes, but there are only a few limited stretches of non-tolled, barrier-separated lanes.