Interstate 285 or I -285 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Georgia. The highway forms the ring road of the city of Atlanta and is also known as The Perimeter. Interstate 285 is 103 kilometers long.
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I-285 at I-85 on the northeast side of Atlanta.
I-285 forms an oval beltway around Atlanta and some inner suburbs. The beltway runs 10 to 15 miles from downtown and is slightly stretched in the north-south direction, making it also a bypass for through traffic on Interstate 75 and Interstate 85. It also crosses Interstate 20, but I-285 is less of a bypass for that.
Most of the ring road has 2×4 lanes, except for the north ring, which largely has 2×5 lanes. To the southwest is a parallel structure to I-85. The highway has major interchanges with Atlanta’s radial roads, the most famous being the Tom Moreland Interchange with I-85 northeast of Atlanta, which is a large stack with long flyovers. The interchanges with I-20 are easier.
I-285 is Atlanta’s only beltway, while the urban area outside the beltway is many times larger than the portion within the beltway. In most directions, the urban area extends up to 40 kilometers outside the ring road. Due to the lack of a second ring road and a lack of a good network of urban arterials, an extraordinary amount of traffic is concentrated on I-285.
The highway is signposted as I-285. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) has also assigned administrative number SR-407 to the route. This is not signposted and is usually only used in technical documents.
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Interstate 285 was constructed during the 1960s as part of the Interstate Highway program. The first section opened in 1963 on the northeast side of Atlanta, as well as a section on the south side, which is now double-numbered with I-85, and the section along the airport. In 1966 these sections were extended westward and eastward respectively. In 1968 longer stretches, much of the west ring as well as much of the east ring, opened. On October 15, 1969, the last links were opened in the northwest and east of Atlanta. I-285 was the first Interstate Highway in Georgia to be completed.
Interstate 285 was originally constructed as a 2×2 lane highway and then ran along the edge of town. Beginning in the 1970s, the Atlanta suburban area began to grow enormously, extending tens of miles beyond the ring road. Within 10 years, the capacity of I-285 fell seriously short, partly because the conurbation was growing faster than people could ever have imagined at the time. Interstate 285 was the first project addressed in GDOT’s “free the freeways” program to upgrade the aging highway network in the 1980s. The northern section was widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes and further to 2×5 lanes in 1996. In 1989, the southern section was widened to 2×5 lanes. All interchanges with other Interstate Highways were modernized, especially thestack interchange between I-85 and I-285 in northeast Atlanta. This ‘Tom Moreland Interchange’ was constructed between 1983 and 1987 and is one of the largest interchanges in the Atlanta area.
In 2005, an airport runway over I-285 was constructed in south Atlanta. I-285 passes through a short tunnel here. Space has been reserved for a future parallel structure. In June 2012, a diverging diamond interchange was completed at the Ashford-Dunwoody Road junction on the north side of Atlanta. This was the first DDI in Georgia.
The Tom Moreland Interchange between I-85 and I-285.
|Exit 25||Exit 34||14 km||1963|
|Exit 58||Exit 62||6 km||1963|
|Exit 20||Exit 25||8 km||~1966|
|Exit 55||Exit 58||5 km||~1966|
|Exit 0||Exit 12||19 km||1968|
|Exit 39||Exit 55||26 km||1968|
|Exit 12||Exit 20||13 km||15-10-1969|
|Exit 34||Exit 39||8 km||15-10-1969|
I-285 handles much more traffic than was ever anticipated during construction, partly because of the explosive growth of the urban area during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Traffic is still increasing. The biggest bottleneck is on the north side of the conurbation. In fact, a second ring road about 15 to 20 kilometers off I-285 would be desirable, but a right-of-way was never kept clear during the development of new suburbs, leaving the construction of a ring only very far outside of Atlanta.. However, the chances of this being built are slim. To compensate for this, I-285 needs to be upgraded. There were once plans to create a parallel system with 2×2 through lanes with connections only to other Interstate Highways.
Between 2016 and 2021, the interchange between I-285 and State Route 400 /US 19 on the north side of Atlanta was upgraded. The project also includes 7 kilometers of I-285 around the interchange. There will be extra flyovers, traffic flows will be unwoven and left-wing inserters will be removed. I-285 will also have a parallel structure between Roswell Road and Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Work started on November 3, 2016 and should be completed by mid-2022. The project will cost approximately $800 million.
There are between 139,000 and 170,000 vehicles on the west side of Atlanta, but 244,000 vehicles on the north side. Northwest Atlanta has 185,000 vehicles, the east side has up to 191,000 vehicles, and the northeast side is the busiest, with 269,000 vehicles per day.
|Exit 0/62 (I-85)||Exit 20 (I-75)||2×4|
|Exit 20 (I-75)||Exit 33 (I-85)||2×5|
|Exit 33 (I-85)||Exit 58 (I-75)||2×4|
|Exit 58 (I-75)||Exit 61 (I-85)||2×5|
|Exit 61 (I-85)||Exit 63/0 (I-85)||2+3+3+2*|
* plus 2×3 of I-85, total 16 lanes