Big changes in store for I-285
There were several transportation-related announcements this week that will affect traffic on I-285 in the short and long term.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s office announced that the Federal Highway Administration has approved funding for an overhaul of the I-285/GA 400 interchange, a project with a price tag of $1.06 billion.
“The improvements include the construction of new flyover ramps, new collector-distributor lanes and other facilities to aid east-west travel on along I-285 and north-south travel along GA 400,” the press release from the governor’s office says. ” … This past May, the governor and GDOT board members approved the sale of $130 million in previously authorized bonds and the use of $81.5 million in accrued state motor fuel funds to accelerate the project. To complete the funding of the improvements, GDOT will utilize a public-private partnership model.”
There will also be some changes in store for commuters starting this Sunday. The Georgia Department of Transportation will implement variable speed limits on the top half of I-285, which will increase the speed limit on the 36 mile section of the interstate to 65 miles per hour.
“To increase safety and promote smooth traffic flow, however, Georgia DOT will be able to electronically reduce the speed limit on the top of I-285 in 10-mph increments to as low as 35 mph in the event of an incident or heavy congestion,” the press release says.
GDOT will use a high-tech monitoring system to reduce or increase the speed limit as needed.
“VSL will allow Georgia DOT Transportation Management Center operators, who constantly monitor I-285 via active traffic management software and closed circuit cameras, to instantaneously detect a crash, breakdown or congestion forming,” the press release says. “They then will be able to post warnings in advance of that area on overhead message boards and use 176 new electronic speed limit signs on the shoulder to make real-time adjustments to reduce the speed limit in and leading up to the area. Speeds will be reduced in 10-mph increments as necessary to 55 mph, 45, and a minimum of 35 mph.”
GDOT is encouraging the public to avoid weekend travel on the west side of I-285 and I-20 due to several construction projects.
Here is the complete list of projects, provided by GDOT.
– Continuous 9 pm, Friday, to 5 am, Monday, closure of two southbound (Outer Loop) lanes between the Interstate 20 Interchange and Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive
– 7 am – 7 pm, Sunday, closure of two southbound lanes in the vicinity of South Cobb Drive;
– Sign structure work on I-285 will require continuous weekend Inner Loop closure of two lanes (and Outer Loop closure of one lane) near South Cobb and also between Atlanta and Paces Ferry roads.
– Also, similar I-285 sign structure work will necessitate a 7 am – 7 pm, Saturday, lane closure southbound between Northlake Parkway and Lawrenceville Highway.
– On westside I-20, a project to replace bridge joints and headers on 16 structures between downtown Atlanta and the Chattahoochee River begins this weekend with work on the bridge at Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard that will require two westbound I-20 lanes there be closed from 9 pm, Friday, until 5 am, Monday.
– One eastbound I-20 lane in Douglas County will be closed from 9 am – 1 pm, Saturday, and one westbound lane from Noon – 4 pm, Saturday.
– On Interstate 75 northbound, two lanes between Howell Mill and Moores Mill will be closed from 9 pm, Friday, until Noon, Saturday, and then one lane until 10 pm, Saturday, for drainage work.
– On Georgia (State Route) 400, one northbound lane between Sidney Marcus Boulevard and the former Toll Plaza area will be closed from 7 am, to 7 pm, Saturday.
– Saturday overnight into early Sunday morning, crews will be removing covers from the new variable speed limits signs on both sides of the top half of I-285 that may require brief, rolling traffic interruptions.