Q: Will it be similar to anything we’ve seen before?
A: It is similar to a smaller scale of 85 in the 316 area. It allows those maneuvers of people entering and exit to happen at a different location and doesn’t cause turbulence or upset the flow of traffic of 285 or 400
Q: How important are the north side interchanges of I-285 to traffic?
A: The three interchanges are the valves that control traffic of the entire northeast section of metro Atlanta. This being right in the middle certainly has a positive effect of that. We’ve got improvements coming with the manage lane project and the northwest corridor project along 75 which will be providing some relief at 75/85 and the 400/85 will ease traffic flowing from 75 around the top end all the way south to 85.
Q: What construction work will be done?
A: There’s actually four miles of work on 285 to accomplish this and there’s another 2 miles of work on 400 to make this happen. When you think about the interchange you think of a bridge and some ramps but the improvement is much more. It also provides improvement along both the 400 and 285 corridors. It’s actually a piece of the puzzle that we’ve been planning on the top end of 285 which is a much bigger project, looking at 85 all the way over to 75.
Q: Why is this project so important?
A: If you don’t build it, you’re further impacting growth ability and supporting the economy of this state, and of course that area has a major impact on the economy.
Q: What is the timetable moving forward?
A: We’ve got an aggressive timetable to work through the environmental and planning progress. We have all of this year and into next year to work through the preliminary conceptual design. The target would be 2016 to get under contract with a design build team. We’re forecasting a three year top construction project.
*Jacob Murphey contributed to this column