New I-285 interchange passes first test

North Buckhead Driving and DUI School

Georgia’s first diverging diamond interchange passed its first test Monday morning as rush hour commuters in Dunwoody learned a new way to drive.
The new interchange, designed to improve traffic flow, channels northbound and southbound traffic on Ashford Dunwoody Road into the left lanes of the overpass to allow unencumbered left turns onto I-285. Traffic is then diverted back to the right lanes as it leaves the overpass.
The device passed Monday’s morning rush hour without any major backups in the region’s largest office market and one of its largest employment centers, accounting for some 123,515 jobs.
“Traffic is running smooth,” Dunwoody police Sgt. Mike Carlson told the AJC Monday morning. “There have been no reported incidents or accidents.”
While many drivers took the curves in stride, not everyone saw the benefit.
“The diverging diamond added about 10 minutes to my commute this morning,” said Dunwoody resident Linda Chappell, who commutes to Lenox. “I ended up sitting through two red lights before going over the bridge … Previously I rarely had to stop.”
The Georgia  Department of Transportation surprised Sunday afternoon drivers by opening the interchange 12 hours ahead of schedule, just after 5 p.m.
GDOT spokeswoman Jill Goldberg said the crews completed the work early amid good weather and did checks all afternoon to make sure signals were operating correctly. The early debut is “a great opportunity for motorists to become accustomed to it during daylight,” Goldberg said.
The $5.5 million project is a joint effort of the Georgia DOT, DeKalb County and the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.
Similar interchange projects are scheduled for two overpasses along I-85 in Gwinnett County. Work on those bridges, at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and at Pleasant Hill Road, is scheduled to begin later this year.
Blogger’s Note:  Well, what do you think Atlanta commuters?  Let’s hear your thoughts.
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