RFP Issued For GA 400 and I-85 Interchange Ramps
If you’ve ever traveled South on I-85 and wanted to head North on GA 400, you know what a big deal this announcement is. If you don’t, then here is what the current commuter must do:
- Exit at Cheshire Bridge/ Lenox Road.
- Turn Right on Lenox Road.
- Turn Left on Buford Highway.
- Turn Right on Sidney Marcus Blvd
- Turn Right to GA400 Northbound On Ramp
Yep. That is how you currently go from I-85 Southbound to GA400 Northbound. A real morning mess. Or mess anytime for that matter. And it’s repeated pretty much when you are coming Southbound on GA400.
I’ve read the interchange was never finished due to money. Could be true. But considering the Metro Atlanta Region’s track record when it comes to planning for transportation, I’d say they just never thought that would be a route people would use. I could be wrong.
Nonetheless, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) issued a Request For Proposal on January 14th for the build-design services on the proposed project. Of course, it will probably be several years before this project is completed? (Note: If you saw how fast the GDOT finished the I-85/GA316 Interchange in Gwinnett County, you know a project can be moved quickly when so desired….that was finished in record time!)
The State Transportation Board and the State Road and Tollway Authority voted to continue the tolls on GA400 to pay for these imporvements. The tolls were going to expire this summer when the original bonds from the early 1990’s will be paid off.
The current tolls are expected to raise $50 million. The interchange construction is estimated at about $40 million. The remaining monies collecteed will go toward 10 other smaller projects along the 400 corridor.
For those many Midtown Commuters that head to the business centers of Buckhead or Perimeter for work, this will certainly help some local streets. But, for those that live say in Gwinnett or the Chamblee/Druid Hills areas, this will make the transition to GA400 North MUCH easier.
Of course, NO highway construction comes without controversy, and the residents of nearby Lindridge/Martin Manor have express concern about their quality of life and property values in their neighborhood as the GA400 Southbound ramp to I-85N will be right along their neighborhood.