More Truck-Only Lanes Proposed: Are Trucks Really the Problem?

Labeled as a “developing story” and an “unprecedented move”, the Georgia DOT’s costly 10-year plan would create “truck-only” lanes over a 60 mile stretch of I-75 south of Atlanta.

We already have several truck-only lanes in the country. Even more states have areas with “no trucks in left lane”. But more importantly, do these truck-only lanes even work? The jury is still out.

The Georgia Department of Transportation has proposed a multi-billion dollar plan to ease the brutal commute on I-75 northbound.
From Macon to McDonough — both south of Atlanta — truck drivers would have their own lanes on the interstate. Read more…

Here are some of the claims from the news story…

“It would be an unprecedented move for one of the busiest stretches of Metro Atlanta.”

“The interstate sees the most traffic jams because of tractor-trailers hauling goods”.

But then they said THIS…

“Nothing like it has ever been proposed in the country before”.

Actually… let’s Analyze that a bit.

First, there are several Truck-Only lanes that exist across the country. What about…

Northern N.J. Turnpike’s separated Car Only Lanes car/truck/bus lane

On the NJ Turnpike, only cars are allowed in the middle 6 lanes (3 north, 3 south) and the outside 6 lanes are for cars/trucks/busses. It seems to work pretty well up here in perhaps the busiest area of the country. But 6 lanes in each direction, regardless of where the trucks are, MAY be why!

Take a look at this video showing how it looks on these lanes. Theme song from The Sopranos. You’re welcome.


California’s Truck-Only Lanes

California truck only lanes

California also has two truck-only lanes and others under consideration:

  • Northbound and southbound I-5 in Los Angeles County at the State Route 14 split.
  • Southbound I-5 in Kern County at the State Route 99 junction near the Grapevine.

Are trucks required to travel in truck-only lanes? Yes. Black and white signs direct trucks to use truck-only lanes. Black and white signs are enforceable.

Can passenger cars travel in truck-only lanes? Green guide signs encourage passenger cars to continue travelling in the main travel lanes and not use the truck-only lanes. However, since green guide signs are not enforceable, passenger cars are not prohibited from using truck-only lanes. More here…

No Trucks In Left Lane

ca-truck-lane-2Now, these we’ve seen in many states. In most areas where this occurs, there’s at least 3 lanes of traffic. Some argue that it makes no sense to disallow trucks from the left lane just because a few bad apples get out there (i.e. slow trucks) and don’t quickly pass. Instead they block up the lane for everyone. But trucks aren’t the only ones to do this! Perhaps create a minimum speed limit in the passing lane. Or give 10 seconds to get in the hammer lane, pass the slower vehicle, and get back into the right lane.

So, What’s All This Mean?

Look at the traffic in the following picture from an older article from the DOT.

Truck-only lanes
Truck-only lanes are one strategy for relieving congestion like this, which can occur on some rural interstates as well as urban freeways. FHWA.DOT.GOV

The caption implies that trucks are to blame for the traffic. Do you REALLY think that having trucks in a truck-only lane would have helped this situation?

The idea is that keeping trucks in a designated truck lane will allow other vehicles to steam past unimpeded.  Is this gonna cut down on traffic?  Are trucks the reason there’s a traffic problem in the first place?

Is this Georgia DOT proposal about creating more lanes? It IS a “multi-billion dollar plan” right?  In 2005, it was estimated that…

“constructing a truck-only facility alongside an existing rural interstate would cost approximately $2.5 million per lane-mile (about $10 million per route-mile for two lanes in each direction”. Read more…

All the reporters in the top video really said was that there are currently 3 lanes (on NB I-75) and that in the future there would be 2 truck lanes. I guess that these would be additional lanes, and they’d be for trucks only? Seems like it would at least have to be similar to how it is on the N.J. Turnpike. A separate 2 or 3 lane “facility” running alongside.  There have been previous attempts at limiting trucks to the right 1 or 2 lanes. But a big issue with this was the hard time vehicles had exiting or merging onto the highway.

Just Creating additional lanes, regardless of where the trucks are, would increase traffic flow and reduce traffic slowdowns.  Wouldn’t it?


Dallas News

8 thoughts on “More Truck-Only Lanes Proposed: Are Trucks Really the Problem?”

  1. California truck lanes are not, no cars, as the article says. They are mandatory for trucks, but they are clogged with cars, which are permitted there.

    • Yeah, it’s weird, but California does call them “truck only lanes”. Because those are the only lanes trucks can use on those stretches of highway. The article does mention that passenger cars are permitted in those lanes.

  2. I have never seen a truck only lane, but I have seen 6 wheels or less or car only lanes, a car wanting to drive 55 to 60 mph on the interstate when they can take the side roads just shows how stupid people can be, I have seen this many times on 75mph interstates

Leave a Comment