Interstate 285

Interstate 285

Infobox road
alternate_name=The Perimeter

maint=Georgia DOT
length_ref= [ Route Log - Auxiliary Routes of the Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways - Table 2] ]

Interstate 285 (I-285) is a beltway interstate highway encircling Atlanta, Georgia, for 63.98 miles (102.97 km). I-285 is also known as unsigned State Route 407 and is colloquially referred to as the Perimeter. It is very heavily traveled, and portions of the highway frequently slow to a crawl during rush hour. It is also signed as Atlanta Bypass, although suburban sprawl has made it one of the most heavily traveled roadways in the country.

I-285 intersects with Interstate 85 in the northeast (Tom Moreland Interchange/"Spaghetti Junction") and southwest, Interstate 75 in the northwest ("Cobb Cloverleaf") and south, Interstate 20 (Tom Murphy Freeway/Ralph David Abernathy Freeway/Purple Heart Highway) in the east and west, and Georgia 400 (Turner McDonald Parkway/T. Harvey Mathis Parkway) in the north. It also meets one end each of Interstate 675, Langford Parkway ("Lakewood Freeway"), and the Stone Mountain Freeway. For 1.21 miles (1.95 km) in the southwest corner, I-85 occupies the median of I-285, yet the roadways remain separate. Exits are numbered clockwise, starting at the southwestern-most point at I-85, and ending just east of there where it meets I-85 again.

Between I-85 and I-20 in southwest Fulton County, I-285 is designated as the "Bob A. Holmes Freeway". It is also designated as "James E. 'Billy' McKinney Highway" between I-20 in northwest Atlanta and I-75 near Cumberland Mall.

The highway was officially opened in 1969. At that time, I-285 had only four lanes (two each way). Today, it is eight to 12 lanes wide, with the northern part from I-75 to Georgia 400 to I-85 being by far the most heavily traveled. One segment of the highway near the junction with Interstate 85 widens to 18 lanes, including collector-distributor lanes.

To many residents of Atlanta, the Perimeter defines a useful boundary to separate metro Atlanta's core from its surrounding suburbs. Many people will distinguish a location as being inside or outside the Perimeter, sometimes abbreviated as ITP and OTP, a recent local neologism. This was also the rough boundary chosen by BellSouth for separating landline telephone exchanges in suburban area code 770 from the existing area code 404 in 1995.

About half of the total mileage of I-285 is covered by Georgia NaviGAtor, Georgia's intelligent transportation system (ITS). Sixty-two CCTV video cameras, nine electronic message signs and full traffic-detection sensors are installed between I-75 in the northwest and I-20 in the east. Additional ITS coverage is currently under construction on the west and southeast sides of the loop, with completion expected in spring 2007.

Because the Perimeter was built so near the city, a second Outer Perimeter (Georgia 500) was proposed, to exist outside even most of the exurbs. Due to local opposition, most of the idea has been shelved indefinitely; however the Northern Arc section continues to come up, particularly under former governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes.

A portion of the section between I-75 and I-85 on the south side of I-285 has been bridged with a new runway and taxiway for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Computer animations were developed prior to construction to simulate a jumbo jet touching down on the runway from a driver's perspective. The entire highway within the tunnels is outfitted with stopped-vehicle sensors and fire detectors. Two electronic signs on either side of the tunnels can warn drivers if the tunnel is closed in an emergency.


*Heavy trucks traveling through (but not into) Atlanta are required to bypass the city on I-285, as there is a well-signed and heavily enforced ban on through truck traffic along I-75, I-85, I-20, Georgia 400, and many other major Atlanta thoroughfares. As with highways just outside I-285, trucks are also prohibited from the far-left lane or two.

*The northern portion of I-285, east of the "Cobb Cloverleaf" (I-75 junction) to "Spaghetti Junction" (I-85 junction), is frequently referred to as the Top End perimeter in traffic reports, especially by Captain Herb Emory (ABC affiliate WSB-TV and WSB AM) and Jason Durden on WSB-FM.

*The stretch of I-285 between I-75 and I-85 on the north end is one of the busiest freeways in the United States, handling about 250,000 cars per day and crossing through three counties. Through that stretch, the freeway balloons from three or four lanes to anywhere between five and seven lanes. A project called revive285 is studying ways to improve this corridor.
*Rapper T.I. pays tribute to I-285 in his song 24's
*Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pascual Pérez missed a 1982 game where he was supposed to be the starting pitcher, by circling I-285 twice. Thereafter, his nickname was "I-285." The Braves won the game.

*I-285 cost $90 million to complete in 1969. The reconstruction, particularly on the top-end and the Spaghetti Junction reconfiguration, has cost about $355 million.

*Much of Atlanta's high-end commercial real estate has popped up along I-285, particularly at the northwestern I-75 junction and the Georgia 400 junction. Notable buildings include the 35-story King and Queen towers in the Perimeter Center business district and the Cobb Galleria complex in the Cumberland/Galleria area.

*The I-285 and Georgia 400 interchange is frequently cited as the most dangerous intersection in Atlanta, and is slated to be reconfigured with collector/distributor roads along Georgia 400 and a complete full stack interchange that will make it the largest freeway interchange east of Los Angeles.Fact|date=February 2007 The new interchange is expected to be able to handle around 300,000 cars per day.Fact|date=February 2007 Feasibility studies have been completed, and it is in Atlanta's 2025 Regional Transportation Plan.

*Signage outside of I-285 along I-75 and I-85 refers to I-285 as the "Atlanta Bypass". However, locals know that it is actually one of Atlanta's main streets. Since the 1970s, the Georgia Department of Transportation has planned an outer loop, which would be a roughly 230 mile (370 km) circumferential loop around metropolitan Atlanta. Under current Governor Sonny Perdue, the plans were dropped from the Regional Transportation Plan, in favor of the expansion of the rural state road network outside of Atlanta. As a sidenote, the state still retains ownership of most of the land that would be needed to complete at least the northern section of the Outer Loop, known as the Northern Arc. As of 2007, ideas have been floated to build that highway even further north, through areas which are still rural.

Exit list

The following exits are listed clockwise: south to north, west to east, north to south and east to west. In 2000, Georgia replaced the actual sequential exit numbers with mile-log numbers.

The original Exit 24 went to Tilly Mill Road and Flowers Road. When I-285 was reconfigured in the 1990s, the exit was removed.


External links

* [ Interstate 285 (history and facts)]
* [ Revive 285 top end (corridor project)]

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