Groundbreaking marks start of new I-285 interchange at Ga. 400

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — State leaders say the commute on Georgia 400 at Interstate 285 will get worse before it gets better.

Leaders broke ground on a project Thursday to untangle the congestion-plagued roadway.%

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When works gets underway, the Georgia Department of Transportation said to expect delays but it says no pain, no gain.

"It's always a nightmare," commuter Julie Gasper told Channel 2's Mike Petchenik.

Gasper said she and her colleagues make that nightmare commute several times a week through I-285 and Georgia 400.

"When you look out the window, you see backup already going west and 400, it starts before 285.  It's a mess,” said commuter Paula Mickens. “(It’s) horrible. Traffic around Atlanta has gotten to the point where there's no time of day that's a good time of day to leave."

Thursday, state leaders broke ground on an $800 million plan to revamp the interchange.

"The whole interchange gets reconfigured where there are now flyovers and multiple levels of flyovers, similar to what you see at Spaghetti Junction or what you're seeing at 75 and 285," GDOT Commissioner

Russell McMurry told Petchenik.

McMurry said once construction begins, drivers will need to be patient.

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"Our message is pardon our progress. We're going to do everything we can to keep traffic moving, keeping it flowing, obviously during the busy rush hour hours. You can expect a lot of overnight, a lot of weekend work, which is very busy along 400. We know," McMurry said.

Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul is urging his residents to use MARTA if possible.

“While we know we're going to go through a little bit of pain while it's under construction, ultimately it's going to have a major impact on mobility and congestion relief and quality of life in this area," Paul said.

Crews are doing some minor work at the interchange until the end of the year. Starting in February, the major work begins and will continue until 2020.