by: Tom Regan Updated:ATLANTA —
After a three-month delay due to weather, the Georgia Department of Transportation opened two elevated ramps that will connect southbound Georgia 400 to Interstate 85 north and I-85 south to Georgia 400 north.
"This was a project that was included in the original project for Ga. 400, but it was abandoned about
20 years ago because they thought the cost was going to be too much. It's going to be very worthwhile. It's going to make Atlanta and the state of Georgia an even better place to work and do business," said Gov. Nathan Deal.
Deal was among local officials attending a ceremony to mark the completion of the new flyover ramps.
The two-year, $22 million interchange improvement project was bankrolled through toll collections on Ga. 400. The tolls ended last November.
Local officials called the project a big win for commuters and local businesses that have long complained about congestion from drivers forced to exit onto surface streets to get to I-85 or Georgia 400.
"The results will be smoother flow of traffic on 400 and 85, which will mean fewer accidents and less pollution and will reduce congestion on Sidney Marcus Boulevard, Lennox Road and Buford Highway
," said Sam Massell, president of the Buckhead Coalition
Drivers told Channel 2's Tom Regan the new ramp will bring much
"I'm excited about it because there will be less traffic around here," said motorist Wallace Underwood.
Employees of an eyeglasses business nearby say they too are pleased with the new travel options.
"I leave here about four o'clock and it's really congested going home. This will help," said employee Anthony Lawrence.
DOT officials said several lanes on I-85 will be blocked over the weekend in order to erect a new sign for the ramps.