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Details Emerge for $1B, GDOT-Orchestrated Traffic Jam

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[Diagrams of the interchange overhaul. Images via GDOT.]

The Georgia Department of Transportation has announced that the largest project in Georgia highway history will kick off sometime in late 2016, according to a report by the Northside Neighbor. Estimated to cost just shy of $1 billion, GDOT expects the revamp of the Interstate 285/Ga. Highway 400 interchange to take about three long, long years. Not confined to the immediate vicinity of the interchange in Sandy Springs, work will stretch along more than four miles of I-285 and more than a mile of Ga. 400. The project promises some relief from the persistent traffic woes of the area by first causing a three-year-long traffic jam. That prolonged headache could make whatever happens in the end seem downright joyous. For a little while, at least.

The end goal of getting more cars flowing through the interchange and nearby entrance and exit ramps will be accomplished through the new access roads, flyovers and the addition of lanes. While some thrill-seekers might miss the Sandy Springs slide — which required drivers entering Ga. 400 southbound at Abernathy Road to merge across four lanes of traffic in less than a mile to avoid the omnipresent backup of cars exiting onto I-285, all executed in traffic moving at more than 70 mph, no less, that left 40 seconds to get up to speed and fly across the lanes — the reconfiguration should make the experience much safer. Through the use of collector-distributors along either side of I-285 for two miles east and west of Ga. 400, the hope is that traffic will flow with less need for weaving and merging.

While there's no question that the upgrades are painfully needed, it seems almost an inevitability that by the time improvements are built, raging development in the area will have produced enough traffic to fill it up again.

· GDOT: 285/400 interchange work to start in 2016 [Neighbor Newspapers]
· Is $1B Expansion At 400/285 Driving ATL In Wrong Direction? [Curbed Atlanta]