By Joe Earle
Reporter Newspapers Managing Editor
The constant rain of quarters is due to end Friday after the evening rush hour.
The falling coins really did sound a bit like rain down in the tunnel beneath the Georgia 400 Toll Plaza. Coins dropped into the toll-collection baskets on the road above rolled down metal tubes and then thumped into locked metal boxes placed at various spots along the 600-foot-long, concrete-walled tunnel.
“During rush hour, it gets quite intense,” said Bert Brantley, deputy executive director of the State Road and Tollway Authority, who wore a reflective orange vest reading “Tolls end Nov. 22” as he led a media tour of the facility on Nov. 19.
The rain of quarters, dimes and nickels has yielded tens of millions of dollars over the 20 years the tolls have been collected on Ga. 400. In recent years, the toll booths have collected about $60,000 a day, half of that in coins, Brantley said.
Michael Bent, who has worked at the plaza for 17 years, said he will miss it. “It’s very sad,” he said, a memory of his native Jamaica accenting his words. “It’s been here all these years. It’s like home here.”
To read more of Joe’s column and to watch a video of the underground toll plaza tour, click this link.