Recently, a truck accident in Atlanta led to a trailer being set ablaze on I285 that blocked all lanes of traffic for hours on a Friday. These and other mishaps like it have compelled the Georgia Department of Transportation to find new ways to reduce the number of these accidents in the state.
According to the AJC, GDOT offers a $3,500 bonus via the TRIP program to private companies in metro Atlanta that can clean up a truck wreck in an hour and a half or less. However, this may not be enough to tackle the growing number of freight trucks joining the Atlanta highways. One reason for the 20,000 trucks traveling through Atlanta is the growing importance of the port in Savannah. An increase in the number of trucks will likely lead to an increase in the number of truck accidents.
Note that the TRIP program is a reactive solution to truck wrecks and does not adequately address the factors that lead to them happening in the first place. CBS reports that as a result, GDOT has also considered building an interstate for trucks alone. While trucks are banned from some streets in the city and suburbs, cars must still share the interstates with them. GDOT plans to divert this truck traffic through an interstate that would run from Macon to metro Atlanta.
This may lead to 40% fewer traffic delays for both commercial and passenger vehicles. However, traffic is not the GDOT’s only concern. The prevalence of truck accidents and the resulting deaths are devastating. In 2016, truck accidents killed 4,300 people. It is not just the number of accidents that are problematic but the severity of them. GDOT estimates the new interstate project may begin by 2024.