By Monroe Roark
Construction on the new
managed toll lanes on I-75 through the middle of Henry County should
begin within the next two months.
Officials with the state
Department of Transportation briefed the Henry County Board of
Commissioners on the project at the board’s August 5 regular
meeting, saying that it is now in the design phase and ground is
expected to be broken no later than October.
One reason for the update was
to encourage the commissioners to help in whatever way possible to
build public awareness and support usage of the lanes once they are
During their PowerPoint
presentation, state officials displayed the new logo for the
“Georgia Express Lanes I-75 South Metro,” as the project is now
Expected benefits from the
new lanes include improved mobility, increased reliability, greater
choice in daily travel, improved transit, better economic viability
and greater economic development in the area. Touting the increased
usage of current toll lanes on I-85 in Gwinnett County, state
officials said the system has “proven performance.”
The project in Henry County
includes 12 miles of newly constructed roadway within the median of
I-75 between Exit 228 in Stockbridge (Hwy. 138) and Exit 216 in
McDonough (Hwy. 155). The lanes will be reversible, allowing for
northbound travel in the morning and southbound travel in the
evening to coincide with rush-hour traffic in and out of Atlanta.
Traffic flow can be adjusted to support special events such as
NASCAR races and spring break travel, officials said.
Motorists will be required to
register for and use the Peach Pass to drive in the toll lanes.
In response to a question from
the board, one official said that additional signage will be erected
showing motorists where they can and cannot exit along the route.
The new toll lanes are
expected to be open for traffic in the winter of late 2016 or early
In the meantime, there will
be additional briefings and a host of information distributed on web
sites and via social media to better inform local residents about
the coming changes. State officials said they will be looking for
whatever local assistance they can get to make that happen.
In other business at the
Board of Commissioners meeting:
•A contract for $385,000 was
approved to furnish food supplies for Henry County Senior Services’
meal preparation during the 2014-15 fiscal year. The department
provides weekday meals at two senior center cafeterias and one
catered cafeteria, delivering meals to homebound seniors as well as
providing meals for those who visit the Heritage and Hidden Valley
senior centers. All meals are prepared in-house by county staff.
•Authorization was given to
spend $66,741.90 in SPLOST funds for the purchase and installation
of equipment for 15 of the 30 new Dodge Charger patrol vehicles
recently acquired for the Henry County Police Department.
• Henry County Animal Care &
Control received a $5,000 donation from the Stanton Foundation. The
funds are to be used by the county’s animal shelter to “explore
innovative approaches to increase dog adoptions,” according to
• A rezoning from residential to commercial was
granted for the lot at 3548 Jodeco Road, to allow Clark Pest Remedy
to move there from its current location at 3631 Jodeco Road. That
tract is being acquired by the county for the future Campground Road
extension project. A rezoning request requires a public hearing, but
no one spoke for or against the request.