The cost to use the I-85 express lanes reached a new high on Tuesday. The peak rush hour price for the full HOT lane trip from I-85 from Gwinnett to DeKalb County climbed to $8.
Use of the HOT lanes has soared above expectations – more than 20,000 cars use the lanes daily compared to 15,000 a year ago.
That demand pushed rush-hour price to the $8 level on Tuesday morning. Rates for the lanes fluctuate depending on the time and level of traffic on the roads.
The $8 toll level reflects a fare of 52 cents per mile; the state cap is 90 cents per mile.
The State Road and Tollway Authority emphasized that only a small percentage of drivers actually pay the maximum toll to ride the entire 15-mile HOT lane route.
SRTA Deputy Director Bert Brantley says other options include car and van pools and bus service to use the HOT lanes.
“Thirteen percent of our trips are free, so there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to use the lane and not pay a rate at all,” said Brantley.
More express lanes will come to Georgia. The state has approved 12 miles of new variable-rate lanes for I-75, through Henry and Clayton Counties. They’ll run from State Route 155 to State Route 138.
Work on the lanes will begin later this year, with the lanes slated to open by the end of 2016.