by Tim Matthews, MMIP Manager – Georgia Department of Transportation
Commuters in Georgia are probably familiar with managed lanes. From hot lanes to toll lanes to express lanes, all are part of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP). The MMIP, created in 2015 by the Transportation Funding Act passed by the Georgia General Assembly, is an $11 billion initiative, focused on improving statewide mobility and building a connected transportation network. As the program manager at GDOT, I have the incredible opportunity to work with the MMIP to help solve some of Georgia’s biggest transportation infrastructure challenges.
Under the MMIP network is Georgia’s express lanes initiative. First derived from the concept of managed lanes, an express lane is a paid option for a commuter or transit customer to bypass congestion for a free-flowing commute. Today, the MMIP includes five express lane projects, one of which is part of the hugely successful I-75 Northwest Corridor.
In the I-75 Northwest Corridor Express Lanes’ first year alone, the corridor has seen a one hour reduction in rush hour commutes and more than seven million commuters. Additionally, those express lanes are 20% faster than the general purpose lanes during peak travel times and speeds in the general purpose lanes are up to 20 mph faster than before the express lanes opened.
Because of this demonstrated success, we couldn’t be more excited about the I-285 Top End Express Lanes project. These new express lanes will feature the first dedicated travel lanes for commuters with the overall goal to improve mobility along the northern portion of I-285, one of the most heavily-traveled and congested interstate highways in the nation.
This project is broken down into two parts: I-285 Top End West Express Lanes and I-285 Top End East Express Lanes. The east portion of the top end lanes will start construction in 2023 and will be open to commuters in 2028 while the western portion will begin construction in 2026 and will open to commuters in 2032.
For Cumberland, the I-285 Top-End Express Lanes will open many opportunities for the region by giving commuters another travel option along with the experience of faster, easier travel. New transit prospects for commuters may also be revealed as bus services achieve more reliable travel times.
At GDOT, we will continue to work to boost Georgia’s competitiveness via transportation and help deliver a transit network focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. While this task may not be easy, we are committed to our goals. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for transportation in Georgia.
Tim Matthews is a registered professional engineer and has almost 18 years of experience in the highway industry including Roadway Engineering and Program/Project Management.
For more information on the MMIP visit their website at majormobilityga.com.