Updated 1:00 p.m., Dec. 30, 2011
Several media stories have appeared recently about the possibility of reversible lanes being used on I-85.
First, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle floated the idea, and now transportation officials confirm that the matter has been part of a 2-year-long study.
Cagle said he wants to add movable barriers to the interstate, which would convert northbound lanes into southbound for the morning commute. The flow would reverse in the evenings, adding more capacity during rush hour.
Transportation officials said the idea is a component of a look at an extension to Ronald Reagan Parkway, which could be funded by tolls.
"The (Ronald Reagan Parkway) feasibility study has determined that a direct connection to I-85 is complex and should account for conditions not contemplated in the original study scope," Gwinnett DOT Acting Director Kim Conroy said. "Referred to as the 'Interface Project,' it will consider how best to optimize the RRP access point with full consideration of the existing interchange network, including the possibility of reversible lanes on I-85."
Gwinnett BOC Chairman Charlotte Nash said she is unsure about the idea, but said attention needs to be made to the congested interstate.
"Obviously, anything that can be done to help improve the traffic flow on I-85, especially during peak traffic times, I'm for that," Nash said. "I'm glad people are thinking about different ways to approach that."
Commuters in south Gwinnett may remember that a reversible-lane system was once used on U.S. 78 near Lilburn's Lake Lucerne Road, but it was discontinued several years ago.
Conroy also said in an email: "U.S. 78, a state route, included reversible lanes between East Park Place and SR 124 from the late 1980’s until just a few years ago. The system allowed for three travel lanes heading west and 2 east in the morning peak and reversed this for the afternoon flow. The reversible lane system was eliminated when GDOT completed their project of intersection improvements and installation of a median, which now provides for 3 lanes of travel in each direction at all times."
So now we ask, do you favor the idea of reversible lanes on I-85? Take the poll and tell us your comments.
(Material from the Gwinnett Daily Post was used in this report.)