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Toll booth removal on Ga. 400 topic of meeting
Bert Brantley, deputy executive director of the State Road & Tollway Authority, talks about the removal of the toll plaza on Ga. 400 during an open house meeting at Piney Grove Middle School in south Forsyth on Thursday. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Attendance was low at two informational meetings in Forsyth County concerning the removal of the toll booth at Ga. 400.

Bert Brantley, deputy executive director of the State Road & Tollway Authority, which held the meetings, said only about a handful of people attended the Oct. 3 and Thursday night meetings.

The first was held at Central Park, with about eight people attending, while the second was at Piney Grove Middle School with just three taking part.

“This isn’t something that’s controversial,” Brantley said of the removal project. “So that’s probably why we haven’t had very many people.

“We think the low turnout is actually a good thing because it means people already understand what’s going to be happening with the removal of the toll plaza.”

The project, he said, will begin within the next couple of weeks, with the ending date for toll collections tentatively set for some time the week before Thanksgiving.

The removal comes as a result of a move by Gov. Nathan Deal in July 2012, when he announced the state would pay off its bond debt and end tolls of Ga. 400 by this December.

Brantley said the best advice he has for people travelling along Ga. 400 into Atlanta over the next couple of months is just to stay alert and follow the signs directing them what to do.

By its completion, the entire toll booth structure, just north of Buckhead, will be removed and the road will be reduced from the current 10 lanes each way down to just three.

Brantley said the asphalt from the extra lanes will be taken away, allowing grass to grow there.

The support structure on the side of 400 will remain in place, he said, and will likely be used by the Georgia State Patrol as a new post.

“That building’s only about 20 years [old] so it’s still in really good shape,” he said.

The 400 toll was the last mandatory toll road in the state, Brantley said, noting that now his organization is switching to “optional toll lanes” such as those on Interstate 85 which can be accessed with a Peach Pass.

Future “optional toll lane” projects include several miles on I-75 and I-575, as well as an extension of the I-85 lanes.