Georgia is exploring the feasibility of designating an entire highway just for trucks. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is considering the 40-mile stretch where cars wouldn’t be allowed to drive – and WABE Radio says it would be the first of its kind in America.
4,317 people perished in crashes where large trucks were involved in 2016, the most recent federal statistics ready from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to WABE Radio. A separate highway for trucks could boost safety for both regular cars and freight operators, according to GDOT’s fact sheet on what’s called the I-75 Commercial Vehicle Lanes.
The toll-free truck-only highway would stretch from Atlanta to Macron and would consist of two barrier-separated lanes. GDOT’s fact sheet says the project is “projected to reduce delay on I-75 by 40 percent in 2030” and could also lower maintenance costs on the lanes for passenger cars. It would be northbound, per WABE Radio, with its own entrances and exits.
Atlanta-area truckers have shown support for the project. WABE Radio spoke to trucker Afori Pugh, who transports around 20,000 pounds of construction materials on his trips. He said it can be difficult; when drivers cut in front of a truck, they rarely realize how much danger they’re in and they don’t understand his industry. He thinks a truck-only highway could “unclog a lot of the traffic.”
Georgia governor Nathan Deal also seems to support the project, saying the truck-only highway is “an important part of what our future transportation system should and will look like” in a Georgia Transportation Alliance meeting.
But some people are balking at the estimated cost of $1.8 billion. U.S. Public Interest Research Group listed the state’s truck-only lanes among the worst highway projects in America in 2017, saying it “would represent a giveaway to the trucking industry, while undermining a rail-based approach to freight movement in Georgia that is intended to get trucks off the roads.”
GDOT could choose a general engineering consultant by the end of this year; that person would be expected to be in charge of project development and seek public input in the environmental process. Construction could commence in 2025.
Via WABE Radio