I-285 lane closures postponed for weeks

A major reduction in lanes on the top end of the Perimeter has been postponed until at least the end of September.

The Georgia Department of Transportation plans to reduce I-285 from five lanes in each direction to three lanes from Roswell Road to Ashford Dunwoody Road. It involves work on the reconstruction of the I-285 interchange at Ga. 400.

The lane reduction was scheduled to begin this weekend. But poor weather has forced GDOT and its contractor to delay the lane closures until at least the end of the month, spokesperson Natalie Dale said.

It’s the latest delay for an $800 million project that began construction in 2017.

The I-285 interchange at Ga. 400 is one of the busiest stretches of highway in the Southeast. It was built to accommodate 100,000 vehicles a day, but more than 400,000 vehicles now pass through the interchange each day.

GDOT and North Perimeter Contractors are rebuilding the interchange ramps, adding new lanes along each highway, replacing numerous bridges and rebuilding other interchanges in the area as part of the project.

Construction originally was to be completed last year. But the scope of the project has expanded to include additional work. Bad weather and unmarked utilities also have hindered construction. So has the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected staffing as well as supply chains for construction materials.

North Perimeter Contractors recently notified GDOT the work will now drag on until the third quarter of 2022.

ExploreI-285 traffic mess could continue for a year

Dale said the latest schedule will involve closing lanes in one direction on I-285 on a weekend as soon as the end of September, with lanes in the other direction closing the following weekend. A more specific schedule was not available.

Whenever they happen, the lane closures are expected to create huge traffic jams. GDOT is urging motorists to avoid the interchange, find alternative routes or just stay home. The lane closures are expected to last until next summer.