Gov. Nathan Deal, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), the State Transportation Board and other state and local leaders today broke ground for the Northwest Corridor (NWC) Georgia Express Lanes project, some 30 miles of managed lanes which will increase mobility for I-75 and I-575 motorists and bolster economic development efforts.

“The Northwest Corridor project is a critical addition to Georgia’s interstate highway system, providing a reprieve for congestion on two of the state’s busiest thoroughfares,” said Deal. “This project will create new commute options for motorists and boost our state’s economic development efforts, as maintaining a strong transportation system is a key component to attracting new business to the state.”

“The Northwest Corridor is the first of a system of Express Lanes we will be constructing,” said State Transportation Board member Dan Moody. “As a taxpayer and as a board member, I am especially pleased to see the commitment of all those involved in ensuring these projects are delivered on time and on budget.”

“This roadway will provide an option and a more reliable trip for commuters and travelers from all across Georgia and for many other individuals and businesses from around the country,” said State Transportation Board member Jeff Lewis.

The $834 million Northwest Corridor is a Public Private Partnership (P3) between GDOT and Northwest Express Roadbuilders (NWER), a joint venture of Archer Western Contractors, LLC, of Atlanta, and Hubbard Construction Company, of Winter Park, FL. The NWC will feature two new managed lanes along the west side of I-75 between its interchanges with I-285 and I-575. The lanes, scheduled to open in 2018, will be barrier separated from the existing interstate and will be reversible so that both will carry traffic southbound during morning commute hours and northbound in the evenings. Above the I-575 interchange, one new reversible lane will be added in the I-75 center median to Hickory Grove Road and a similar new I-575 lane will extend to Sixes Road. Vehicles will access the NWC managed lane system via six new I-75 interchanges at I-285, Terrell Mill and Roswell roads, I-575 and Big Shanty and Hickory Grove roads and three slip-ramp access points from existing lanes on I-75 and I-575. 

NWER’s proposal of $599,001,817 in design and construction costs was selected last year as the best value from among three P3 proposals. That figure is a combined total with earlier NWC costs incurred to comprise the project’s total price of $834 million – by far the most expensive project in GDOT history. Still, the total is significantly less than initial estimates of $951 million, due in large measure to P3 innovations and cost-savings.

The State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) is partnering with GDOT on the project. Motorists will be able to utilize the I-75 and I-575 express lanes, as well as other Georgia express lanes, by choosing to participate in SRTA’s Peach Pass program, which uses remote transponders to assess variable-rate tolls based on traffic volumes.

This project is being financed through a combination of federal, state and private sector funds provided by NWER. The NWC is a component of GDOT’s Georgia Express Lanes System – a network which will provide Atlanta-area motorists with options for greater mobility on metro freeways. Additional information on the NWC, this program and its coming improvements can be found here.