Interstate 285

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Interstate 285 marker

Interstate 285
The Perimeter
Route information
Maintained by GDOT
Length 63.98 mi[2] (102.97 km)
Existed 1963[1] – present
Major junctions
Beltway around Atlanta
 
Location
Counties Clayton, Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb
Highway system
  • Georgia State Routes
SR 284SR 285
SR 406Georgia 407.svgSR 408

Interstate 285 (I-285) is an Interstate Highway loop encircling Atlanta, Georgia, for 63.98 miles (102.97 km).[2] It connects the three major insterstate highways to Atlanta: I-20, I-75 and I-85. Colloquially referred to as The Perimeter, it also carries unsigned State Route 407 (SR 407), and is signed as Atlanta Bypass on I-75/I-85.

Because of suburban sprawl, it is estimated that more than two million people use the highway each day, making it the busiest Interstate in the Atlanta metropolitan area, and one of the most heavily traveled roadways in the United States. During rush hour, portions of the highway slow, sometimes to a crawl.

Route description[edit]

I-285 is eight to 12 lanes wide, with the northern part from I-75 to SR 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 I-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 Atlanta International 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 the 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 interchange) to "Spaghetti Junction" (I-85 interchange), is frequently referred to as the Top End Perimeter. This section, which includes an interchange with SR 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.

From exit 25 to exit 27, I-285 is concurrent with US 19.

Much of Atlanta's high-end commercial real estate has developed along I-285, particularly at the northwestern I-75 and the SR 400 interchanges. 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 Spaghetti Junction, I-285's direction switches from east to south, as it connects with the Stone Mountain Freeway at exit 39, and has an interchange with I-20 at exit 46, where I-285 starts to curve towards the southwest. At exit 52, it has an interchange with Interstate 675, and heads straight west after the interchange 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 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.[2]

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, SR 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). There have been 153 CCTV traffic cameras, 26 electronic message signs, and traffic-detection sensors 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.[3] 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.[4] Generally, 404 is Atlanta itself and most suburbs inside the Perimeter, while 770 serves most of the suburbs outside the Perimeter.

History[edit]

Atlanta, Georgia 1955 Yellow Book with I-285 route

I-285 was completed and opened in sections, with the entire highway officially opened on October 15, 1969 at a cost of $90 million, as a four-lane freeway throughout (two lanes each way).[citation needed]

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.[5][6]

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).[7]

Future[edit]

Since the 1970s, the Georgia Department of Transportation has planned an outer loop, which would be a roughly 230-mile-long (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/SR 400 interchange is slated to be reconfigured with collector/distributor roads along SR 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 (US 19/SR 400), 10 (I-20 west of Atlanta) and 33 (I-85 northeast of Atlanta).[8][9]

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 anti-clockwise, exit 33 comes before exit 34.

CountyLocationmikmOld exitNew exitDestinationsNotes
FultonEast Point21Washington Road
32 Camp Creek Parkway (SR 6) – Domestic Terminals
Atlanta4A5A SR 154 north / SR 166 east (Langford Parkway)Cloverstack interchange
4B5B SR 154 south / SR 166 west (Campbellton Road)
57Cascade RoadFormer SR 154
69 SR 139 (Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) – Adamsville
7A10A I-20 east (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway / SR 402) – Atlanta, DowntownI-20 exits 51A-B
7B10B I-20 west (Tom Murphy Freeway / SR 402) – Birmingham
812 US 78 / US 278 / SR 8 (Hollowell Parkway)
913Bolton RoadClockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 70
CobbSmyrna1015 SR 280 (South Cobb Drive) – Smyrna
1116South Atlanta Road – SmyrnaFormer US 41/SR 3
1218Paces Ferry Road – Vinings
1319 US 41 (Cobb Parkway / SR 3) – Dobbins ARB, SunTrust ParkCounterclockwise exit is part of exit 20.
1420 I-75 (SR 401) – Atlanta, ChattanoogaI-75 exits 259A-B; Cobb Cloverleaf
FultonSandy Springs1522Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road
1624Riverside Drive
1725 US 19 south / SR 9 (Roswell Road) – Sandy SpringsCounterclockwise end of US 19 concurrency
1826Glenridge Drive / Glenridge ConnectorClockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 407 Loop
1927 US 19 north / SR 400 – Atlanta, Dahlonega, CummingClockwise end of US 19 concurrency; SR 400 exits 4A-B
2028Peachtree-Dunwoody RoadCounterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
DeKalbDunwoody2129Ashford-Dunwoody RoadDiverging diamond interchange (completed June 3, 2012)[10][11]
2230Chamblee-Dunwoody Road / North Shallowford Road / North Peachtree Road
Doraville2331 SR 141 (Peachtree Industrial Boulevard) – ChambleeSigned as exits 31A (south) and 31B (north)
24Tilly Mill Road / Flowers RoadExit removed in the 1990s during I-285 reconfiguration; now part of exit 31B northbound
2532 US 23 / SR 13 (Buford Highway) – Doraville
2633 I-85 (SR 403) – Atlanta, Greenville, CharlotteI-85 north exit 95, south exits 95A-B; Spaghetti Junction; signed as exits 33A (south) and 33B (north) clockwise.
Tucker2734Chamblee-Tucker RoadClockwise exit is part of exit 33A.
27A36Northlake ParkwayClockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
2837 SR 236 (LaVista Road) – Tucker
2938 US 29 / SR 8 (Lawrenceville Highway) – Tucker
Stone Mountain3039 US 78 (Stone Mountain Freeway / SR 410) – Decatur, Atlanta, Snellville, AthensSigned as exits 39A (west) and 39B (east); US 78 exit 2
3140East Ponce de Leon Avenue – ClarkstonClockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
Church Street – ClarkstonCounterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
3241 SR 10 (Memorial Drive) – Avondale Estates
32A42 Indian Creek Transit StationCounterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
3343 US 278 / SR 12 (Covington Highway)
3444Glenwood RoadFormer SR 260
Panthersville35A46A I-20 west (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway / SR 402) – AtlantaI-20 east exit 67, west exits 67A-B; signed as exit 46 clockwise
35B46B I-20 east (Purple Heart Highway / SR 402) – Augusta
3648 SR 155 (Flat Shoals Road) / Candler Road
3751Bouldercrest Road
3852 I-675 south (SR 413) – Macon, TampaI-675 exit 11; northern terminus of I-675
3953 US 23 / SR 42 (Moreland Avenue) – Fort Gillem
FultonAtlanta4055 SR 54 (Jonesboro Road) – Forest Park
Clayton4158 I-75 (SR 401) – Macon, Tampa, International Terminal, AtlantaI-75 exits 238A-B
4259Clark Howell Highway / Loop Road – Air CargoClockwise exit is part of exit 58.
4360 SR 139 (Riverdale Road)
ClaytonFulton
county line
College Park4461 I-85 (SR 403) – Columbus, Montgomery, Domestic Terminals, AtlantaI-85 north exit 68, south exit 69
162 SR 14 Conn. (South Fulton Parkway) / SR 279 (Old National Highway)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Fatal accidents[edit]

In 2013, there were 26 fatal accidents on I-285, giving it the highest rate of such accidents per 10 miles (16 km) of any interstate in the country.[12]

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 August 19, 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 Pérez 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,[13] kicking off a 13-2 winning streak which carried the team to the National League West division title. The team subsequently made for Pérez a warm-up jacket with the notation "I-285" in place of his uniform number.[14] The humor of the incident was credited for helping to improve the morale of the team and breaking the losing streak.[15]

The South Park episode "Goobacks" features I-285 as the location of the time portal. The interstate sign for I-285 north is shown multiple times as the time travelers appear. However, this is most likely a mistake as US 285, not I-285, actually travels through the area of Colorado on which South Park is based.

In 2008, Atlanta native and hip-hop artist Ludacris released a song about I-285 entitled: "285 (Drinkin & Driving)"

East-Atlanta based hip-hop artist Gucci Mane referenced the interstate's circular pattern in his 2007 song "I Might Be", saying "On 285 I keep ridin' in a circle, the inside of my ride smellin' like a pound of purple".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ State Highway Department of Georgia (1963). State Highway System and Other Principal Connection Roads (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Atlanta: State Highway Department of Georgia. OCLC 5673161. Retrieved February 11, 2017.  (Corrected to June 1, 1963.)
  2. ^ a b c "Route Log - Auxiliary Routes of the Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways - Table 2". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "For Atlanta homebuyers, ITP vs. OTP boundary wars have ended". Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  4. ^ McKay, John and Bonnie (2001). Insiders' Guide to Atlanta (8th ed.). Morris Book Publishing, LLC. p. 2. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  5. ^ Georgia's Interstate Exit Numbers Archived 2004-02-15 at the Wayback Machine. Georgia Department of Transportation - online. Accessed April 30, 2007.
  6. ^ Interstate 20 Exit Renumbering Page Archived 2002-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. Georgia Department of Transportation - online. Accessed April 30, 2007.
  7. ^ "AJC - 285 may see variable speed limit signs". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Voters reject transportation tax". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Diverging Diamond to Open June 4". Sandy Springs, Georgia Patch. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ Mike Morris and Patrick Fox (June 4, 2012). "First Monday commute on new interchange goes smoothly". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Frostenson, Sarah (6 November 2015). "The 10 deadliest interstates in America, mapped". Vox. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  13. ^ Retrosheet. "Atlanta Braves 5, Montreal Expos 4". Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  14. ^ Card Junk. "Turner Field -- Braves Hall of Fame Museum". Retrieved 23 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Garrity, John (23 May 1983). "He Has Found The Way to Go". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata