GDOT considers closing connector on-ramps during rush hour

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ATLANTA - For six months, traffic engineers have been discussing shutting down some ramps on the downtown connector during rush hour in an attempt to help the evening commute.

The downtown connector is a spider web of ramps that can lead to traffic backups and people merge on and off.

The Georgia Department of Transportation told Channel 2’s Jeff Dore that the backup on the Interstate 75/85 connector southbound typically begins around the Interstate 20 interchange and backs up for miles, sometimes as far north as Ga. 400.

“About two miles has nine exits within there. Standards really call for a distance of about a mile in an urban area, so we have about five times the accepted standard in that particular area,” Jill Goldberg of GDOT said.

Because of that, GDOT is considering closing two of the ramps during rush hour.

One of the biggest areas of congestion is where drivers from Edgewood merge onto the connector as drivers on the connector merge toward them to get onto I-20.

Drivers Dore spoke with were not convinced of the merits of the plan.

“I mean, I think that would be a disservice to this area, because people utilize this area to get on and off the freeway,” one driver said.

GDOT has been listening to the opinions of several downtown groups.

“Of course, the city of Atlanta, law enforcement, Georgia State Patrol, first responders, Grady, Georgia State, Underground, the Braves, the Hawks, we’ve been meeting with everybody,” Goldberg said.

GDOT stressed that this is just a discussion, for now.

“We are just doing looking at doing this as an experiment,” Goldberg said.

Even if enough stakeholders agree this could work, GDOT would have to come up with funding for signs, signals and road improvements.