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Following months of prep, Atlanta’s massive top-end interchange redevelopment ‘begins’

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Bridge construction marks the start of a new phase at Ga. Highway 400 and I-285 after lengthy site preparation and tree removal.

An aerial rendering of the reconstructed interchange.
When completed, the project is slated to cost nearly $1 billion.

Each day, more than 400,000 vehicles pass through the interchange of Ga. Highway 400 and Interstate 285 in Sandy Springs, and anyone who frequents the north-end Perimeter knows just how much of a nightmare it can be.

Now, work has officially launched on a three-year overhaul of the interchange, promising (ultimately) a more user-friendly experience. First unveiled more than three years ago, the project is intended to ease traffic at one of the metro’s worst bottlenecks.

Commencement of construction on a new bridge at Mount Vernon Highway marked the beginning of a new phase in the road redo, which is slated to cost more than $800 million. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the mega-project is on track for completion in summer 2020.

However, commuters subjected to using the north-end Perimeter have seen prep work underway for most of the year; trees have been clear-cut along Ga. Highway 400 and I-285, exposing buildings along the highways that will ultimately look out on the miles of access roads.

Tree-clearing at Abernathy Road along Ga. Highway 400, more than 1.5 miles north of I-285.
Google Maps
The impact of the project is seen nearly four miles from the actual interchange, at Spalding Drive.
Google Maps

Construction is anticipated to take years, but the project’s expected benefits will be felt sooner; GDOT estimates commuters will save an astounding 20,000 hours per day by 2019.

Ultimately, if the vision materializes as planned, the miles of reworked roads will become the key to a reimagined, more efficient northern I-285 corridor, which is anticipated to accommodate growth in the next 20 years.

Hopefully by then, Atlanta will have addressed the transit elephant in the room.