Interstate 285

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For the planned I-285 in North Carolina, see Interstate 285 (North Carolina).
"The Perimeter" redirects here. For the distance around a polygon or any object, see Perimeter.

Interstate 285 marker

Interstate 285
The Perimeter
Route information
Maintained by GDOT
Length: 63.98 mi[1] (102.97 km)
Existed: 1969 – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Atlanta
  I‑20 in Atlanta
I‑75 near Smyrna
SR 400 in Sandy Springs
I‑85 near Doraville
US 78 near Decatur and Stone Mountain
I‑20 near Panthersville
I‑675 near Atlanta
I‑75 near Forest Park
I‑85 near College Park
SR 166 near East Point
Location
Counties: Clayton, Fulton, Cobb, and Dekalb.
Highway system
  • Georgia State Routes
SR 406 Georgia 407.svg SR 408

Interstate 285 (I-285) is an Interstate Highway loop encircling Atlanta, Georgia, for 63.98 miles (102.97 km).[1] I-285 is also un-signed State Route 407, and is colloquially referred to as the Perimeter. Suburban sprawl has made it one of the most heavily traveled roadways in the United States, and portions of the highway slow, sometimes to a crawl, during rush hour. It is also signed as Atlanta Bypass on Interstate 75 and Interstate 85.

It is estimated that more than two million people use the highway each day, making it by far the busiest Interstate in the Atlanta metropolitan area.[2]

Route description[edit]

It is eight to 12 lanes wide, with the northern part from I-75 to Georgia 400 to I-85 the most heavily traveled. One segment of the highway near Spaghetti Junction (a large, flyover highway interchange northeast of Atlanta) with Interstate 85 widens to 18 lanes, including collector-distributor lanes. Exits are numbered clockwise, starting at the southwestern-most point at I-85, and ending just east of there where it meets I-85 again near Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Between I-85 and I-20 in southwest Fulton County, I-285 is designated as the "Bob A. Holmes Freeway", where I-285 heads north, and has an interchange with the Langford Parkway. Between I-20 in northwest Atlanta and I-75 near Cumberland Mall, it is designated as "James E. 'Billy' McKinney Highway" as it continues north, and starts to curve to the east just west of the I-75 interchange.

The northern portion of I-285, east of the "Cobb Cloverleaf" (I-75 junction) to "Spaghetti Junction" (I-85 junction), is frequently referred to as the Top End Perimeter. This section, which includes an interchange with Georgia 400 at exit 27 (frequently cited as the most dangerous intersections in Atlanta), is one of the busiest freeways in the United States, handling about 250,000 cars per day and crossing through three counties. Through that stretch, the freeway expands from six or eight lanes to between ten and fourteen lanes.

Much of Atlanta's high-end commercial real estate has developed along I-285, particularly at the northwestern I-75 and the Georgia 400 junctions. Notable buildings include the 35-story King and Queen towers in the Perimeter Center business district and the Cobb Galleria complex in the Cumberland/Galleria area.

East of the Spaghetti Junction, I-285's direction switches from east to south, as it connects with the Stone Mountain Freeway at exit 39, and intersects with I-20 at exit 46, where I-285 starts to curve towards the southwest. At exit 52, it intersects with Interstate 675, and heads straight west after the intersection with I-75 near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

I-285 at the I-20 interchange east of Atlanta

A portion of the section between I-75 and I-85 on the south side of I-285 has been bridged with a new runway and taxiway of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of only two interstates in the nation (along with I-564 in Norfolk, VA) to a have an underpass beneath a runway (underpasses for taxiways do occur elsewhere). Computer animations were developed prior to construction to simulate a jumbo jet touching down on the runway from a driver's perspective. The entire highway within the tunnels is outfitted with stopped-vehicle sensors and fire detectors. Two electronic signs on either side of the tunnels can warn drivers if the tunnel is closed in an emergency. For 1.21 miles (1.95 km) in the southwest corner, I-85 occupies the median of I-285, yet the roadways remain separate.[1]

Heavy trucks traveling through (but not into) Atlanta are required to bypass the city on I-285, as there is a well-signed and heavily enforced ban on through truck traffic along I-75, I-85, I-20, Georgia 400, and many other major Atlanta thoroughfares. As with highways just outside I-285, trucks are also prohibited from the far-left one or two lanes (except where there are left exits open to trucks).

The complete circumference of I-285 is covered by Georgia NaviGAtor, Georgia's intelligent transportation system (ITS). One-hundred fifty-three CCTV traffic cameras, twenty-six electronic message signs and traffic-detection sensors have been installed in phases between 1999 and 2010 by Georgia DOT. Additionally, ramp meters are present at nearly all entrance ramps onto I-285, with the exception of the southeast section of I-285 and the major freeway-to-freeway connection ramps.

To many residents of Atlanta, the Perimeter defines a useful boundary to separate metro Atlanta's core from its surrounding suburbs. People distinguish a location as being inside or outside the Perimeter, sometimes abbreviated as ITP and OTP, a recent local neologism.[citation needed] This was also the rough boundary chosen by BellSouth for separating landline telephone exchanges in suburban area code 770 from the existing area code 404 in 1995.[3]

History[edit]

I-285 was opened on October 15, 1969 at a cost of $90 million, as a four-lane freeway throughout (two lanes each way).

The reconstruction of I-285, particularly on the top-end and the Spaghetti Junction reconfiguration (covered by the revive285 project), has cost about $355 million.[citation needed]

Until 2000, the state of Georgia used the sequential interchange numbering system on all of its Interstate highways. The first exit on each highway began with the number "1" and increase numerically with each exit. In 2000, the Georgia Department of Transportation switched to a mileage-based exit system, in which the exit number corresponded to the nearest milepost.[4][5]

Georgia DOT voted in September 2012 to raise the speed limit from 55 miles per hour (90 km/h) to 65 miles per hour (105 km/h) on the entire freeway, and by 2013 to install electronic signs for variable speed limits north of I-20, to lower the speed limit when traffic or weather conditions warrant. This is intended to keep traffic moving at a reduced but steady speed, rather than suddenly braking drivers causing traffic to "clot" simply because other drivers are also braking (which causes unnecessary stop-and-go traffic).[6]

Future[edit]

Since the 1970s, the Georgia Department of Transportation has planned an outer loop, which would be a roughly 230 mile (370 km) circumferential loop around metropolitan Atlanta. Under Governor Sonny Perdue, the plans were dropped from the Regional Transportation Plan, in favor of the expansion of the rural state road network outside of Atlanta. The state still retains ownership of most of the land that would be needed to complete at least the northern section of the Outer Loop, known as the Northern Arc. As of 2007, ideas have been considered to build that highway even further north, through areas that are still rural.

The I-285 and Georgia 400 interchange is slated to be reconfigured with collector/distributor roads along Georgia 400 and a complete full stack interchange that will make it the largest freeway interchange east of Los Angeles.[citation needed] The new interchange is expected to be able to handle around 300,000 cars per day.[citation needed] Feasibility studies have been completed, and it is in Atlanta's 2025 Regional Transportation Plan.

On July 31, 2012, metro-area voters rejected the T-SPLOST comprehensive transportation plan that was to be funded by an additional one-percent sales tax over a ten-year period. Among the projects included in the plan was a new exit on I-285 at Greenbriar Parkway on the southwest side of Atlanta (between present exits 2 & 5), as well as major reconstruction of interchanges at exits 27 (GA 400/US 19), 10 (I-20 west of Atlanta) and 33 (I-285 northeast of Atlanta).[7][8]

Exit list[edit]

The following exits are listed clockwise from the southwest: going south to north, west to east, north to south and east to west. An exception is that heading counterclockwise, exit 33 comes before exit 34.


County Location Mile km Old exit New exit Destinations Notes
Fulton East Point 2 1 Washington Road
3 2 Camp Creek Parkway (SR 6) – Domestic Terminals
Atlanta 4 5 SR 154 / SR 166 (Langford Parkway, Campbellton Road) Signed as exits 5A (north/east) and 5B (south/west)
  5 7 Cascade Road Former SR 154
Atlanta 6 9 SR 139 (Martin L King Jr. Drive) – Adamsville
7 10 I‑20 (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway, Tom Murphy Freeway) – Atlanta, Birmingham Signed as exits 10A (east) and 10B (west)
8 12 US 78 (Hollowell Parkway) / US 278
9 13 Bolton Road Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 70
Cobb Smyrna 10 15 SR 280 (South Cobb Drive) – Smyrna
  11 16 South Atlanta Road – Smyrna Former US 41 / SR 3
  12 18 Paces Ferry Road – Vinings
  13 19 US 41 (Cobb Parkway) – Dobbins AFB Counterclockwise exit is part of exit 20
  14 20 I‑75 – Atlanta, Chattanooga Cobb Cloverleaf
Fulton Sandy Springs 15 22 Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road
16 24 Riverside Drive
17 25 US 19 south (Roswell Road) – Sandy Springs Counterclockwise end of US 19 overlap
18 26 Glenridge Drive, Glenridge Connector Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 407 Loop
19 27 US 19 north / SR 400 – Atlanta, Dahlonega, Cumming Clockwise end of US 19 overlap
20 28 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
DeKalb Dunwoody 21 29 Ashford-Dunwoody Road Diverging diamond interchange (completed June 3, 2012)[9][10]
22 30 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, North Shallowford Road, North Peachtree Road
Doraville 23 31 SR 141 (Peachtree Industrial Boulevard) – Chamblee Signed as exits 31A (south) and 31B (north)
  24 Tilly Mill Road/Flowers Road Exit removed in the 1990s during I-285 reconfiguration
Doraville 25 32 US 23 (Buford Highway) – Doraville
  26 33 I‑85 – Atlanta, Greenville, Charlotte Spaghetti Junction; signed as exits 33A (south) and 33B (north) clockwise
Tucker 27 34 Chamblee-Tucker Road Clockwise exit is part of exit 33A
27A 36 Northlake Parkway Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
28 37 SR 236 (LaVista Road) – Tucker
29 38 US 29 (Lawrenceville Highway)
Stone Mountain 30 39 US 78 – Decatur, Atlanta, Snellville, Athens Signed as exits 39A (west) and 39B (east)
31 40 East Ponce de Leon AvenueClarkston Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
31 40 Church Street – Clarkston Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
  32 41 SR 10 (Memorial Drive) – Avondale Estates
  32A 42 Indian Creek Transit Station Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
  33 43 US 278 (Covington Highway)
  34 44 Glenwood Road Former SR 260
Panthersville 35 46 I‑20 (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway, Purple Heart Highway) – Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia Signed as exits 46A (west) and 46B (east) counterclockwise
36 48 SR 155 (Flat Shoals Road, Candler Road)
  37 51 Bouldercrest Road
  38 52 I‑675 south – Macon
  39 53 US 23 (Moreland Avenue) – Fort Gillem
Fulton Atlanta 40 55 SR 54 (Jonesboro Road) – Forest Park
Clayton   41 58 I‑75 – Macon, Tampa, International Terminal, Atlanta
Domestic Terminal 42 59 Clark Howell Highway, Loop Road – Air Cargo Clockwise exit is part of exit 58
  43 60 SR 139 (Riverdale Road)
ClaytonFulton College Park 44 61 I‑85 – Columbus, Montgomery, Domestic Terminals, Atlanta
1 62 SR 14 Conn. (South Fulton Parkway) / SR 279 (Old National Highway)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

In popular culture[edit]

Atlanta Braves pitcher Pascual Pérez became widely associated with I-285 after he got lost on it while trying to drive to a game. On 19 August, 1982, Perez, who had just received his first U.S. driver's license, decided to drive himself to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (where the Braves played their home games at the time), where he was scheduled to start that evening's game against the Montreal Expos. He was unable to find the proper exit and circled the city several times before running out of gas and calling for help. When Perez failed to arrive at the stadium by game time, the Braves called upon veteran pitcher Phil Niekro to make the emergency start. The Braves, who had been mired in a 2-19 slump, won the game,[11] kicking off a 13-2 winning streak which carried the team to the National League West division title. The team subsequently made for Perez a warm-up jacket with the notation "I-285" in place of his uniform number.[12] The humor of the incident was credited for helping to improve the morale of the team and break the losing streak.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Route Log - Auxiliary Routes of the Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways - Table 2
  2. ^ http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/most-congested-roads_2010-11-17?page=7
  3. ^ McKay, John and Bonnie (2001). Insiders' Guide to Atlanta (8th ed.). Morris Book Publishing, LLC. p. 2. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ Georgia's Interstate Exit Numbers Georgia Department of Transportation - online. Accessed April 30, 2007.
  5. ^ Interstate 20 Exit Renumbering Page Georgia Department of Transportation - online. Accessed April 30, 2007.
  6. ^ AJC - 285 may see variable speed limit signs
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ http://sandysprings.patch.com/articles/diverging-diamond-to-open-june-4-473ed85d
  10. ^ Mike Morris and Patrick Fox (June 4, 2012). "First Monday commute on new interchange goes smoothly". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  11. ^ Retrosheet. "Atlanta Braves 5, Montreal Expos 4". Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Card Junk. "Turner Field -- Braves Hall of Fame Museum". Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Garrity, John (23 May 1983). "He Has Found The Way to Go". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing