Georgia 400 free at last

December 17, 2013 by  

This Thanksgiving, Atlanta drivers had a little something extra for which to be thankful. In 1993 Georgia 400 opened as a toll road and, this November 21, the last toll was ceremoniously paid. Michael and Linda Weinroth, the first drivers to pay a toll on the road, were given the opportunity to be the last paying travelers as well.

The bonds that financed the road were paid off three years early and, as a result, saved in excess of $1m in interest. Governor Nathan Deal was on hand when the last toll was paid. It had been one of his campaign promises to rid the 400 of tolls during his term in office, and he was pleased to be able to carry through on that promise.

Work to remove all signs of the toll operation will be done in stages, with the main work beginning in January. The transformation is expected to be complete by the fall of 2014.

How the removal of the toll will affect traffic is not known. Certainly some drivers who previously avoided using Georgia 400 due to the toll will now be traveling that more convenient highway. The next question is the number of drivers who will do this and how this will impact retail businesses accessible from the 400.

As is true with all traffic pattern changes, it is advisable for local businesses to advertise the change, perhaps through postcard printing announcing special offers. Increasing sales may just be a matter of prompting potential customers to change their driving habits to include the now free Georgia 400.