ATLANTA - It's one of the biggest road construction makeovers in years. The Georgia Department of Transportation is currently working to transform the busy interchange of Interstate 285 and Georgia Highway 400. It's an $800 million project that will bring improvements meant to make the intersection safer and help keep traffic moving.
Roughly 400,000 drivers move through the interchange every day and the first wave of construction at I-285 and GA-400 is already creating brake lights.
"285 and 400 is terrible because of the backups that happen," says driver Michael Autry, who works in Sandy Springs.
"It will be one of the biggest projects the metro Atlanta area, as well as the state, has seen in a very long time. It is a long time coming. It's very needed for this area," says DOT Spokesperson Natalie Dale.
With new flyover ramps and additional lanes being built, the goal is to relieve some of that congestion. "We talk about this sort of being the wheel that turns. Once you can get this interchange moving again you really release a lot of the congestion on the Top End of I-285 just because of how backed up it gets in this area," adds Dale.
Crews have been clearing land along GA-400, to make room for new collector distributor lanes. "A collector distributor lane is the same thing as an access road, it's a road that runs alongside the interstate, and in this case it allows you to bypass going through the interchange," Dale explains.
DOT crews have been closing the GA-400 flex lane, or shoulder lane, off and on in the construction zone but soon that lane will be gone forever. "So because we have crews working in that area, they have to close that shoulder or that flex lane for safety of our crews and you'll see in the next few months that the flex lanes will be closed permanently for construction," Dale shares.
The project is expected to wrap up in 2020. DOT suggests making alternative plans now, to avoid the traffic headaches that are sure to be down the road. "This is a big project...we are still two and half years out from completion of this project, so just know that construction delays and congestion are going to get worse before it gets better with a much better solution in the end," Dale adds.
Work is being done now on GA-400, between Glenridge Rd. and Spalding Dr. and along I-285 between Roswell Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road. It means a lot of overnight and weekend lane closures, but some that will impact your ride during the daytime as well.