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I-285, Ga. 400 express lanes projects pushed back; GDOT to focus on truck lanes

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The road-creating projects have been a point of contention among Perimeter city, OTP officials

A map of the proposed project.
GDOT officials say the I-285 Top End Express Lanes project could reduce traffic delays by thousands of hours each day.
Georgia Department of Transportation

A massive plan to expand metro Atlanta’s interstate system with new toll lanes has been delayed by the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The Interstate 285 Top End Express Lanes project, initially anticipated to be complete by 2028, is now scheduled to wrap in 2032, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Additionally, the creation of toll lanes on Ga. Highway 400—another part of GDOT’s $11 billion “Major Mobility Investment Program” that’s meant to curb traffic—is now on track to be finished in 2027, instead of 2024.

A revised game plan for the road-creating effort now prioritizes the construction of new truck lanes on Interstate 75 between Macon and McDonough, per the paper.

The state agency is also focusing on widening I-85 to U.S. 129, northeast of Atlanta.

A chart of Georgia Department of Transportation projects.
Green means go (tentatively).

GDOT asserts that taking more time and chunking up the I-285 express lanes expansion could encourage more contractors to bid on the project, according to a press release.

Revised plans call for construction along the northern arc of I-285 to come in two smaller packages that GDOT believes will be more manageable: the I-285 East Metro Express Lanes and the I-285 West Metro Express Lanes.

“Not only do these modifications allow for better competition among the construction industry and provide more opportunities for smaller, local contractors, they also provide improved maintenance of traffic during construction,” the release reads.

Plus, amendments to the plans allow GDOT more time to hash out the details of the I-285 Top End project with leaders in northern Perimeter cities—some have taken issue with the plans—as well as discuss mass transit opportunities.

“These modifications provide further opportunities to coordinate and collaborate with partners, such as DeKalb and Fulton counties, the mayors along the top end of I-285, and the ATL, about future transit and transportation endeavors,” according to the release.

A graphic of various roadway projects around Atlanta right now.
An overview of where significant GDOT projects are planned in coming years.