NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — As drivers get ready for major backups and delays on Interstate 285, Sandy Springs police are bracing for the huge impact of lane closures that will last for months.
Sandy Springs police run two traffic response vehicles during rush hour with the focus now on the top end of the perimeter. Similar to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s HERO units, the traffic units help clear crashes, alert drivers to crashes and help clear the road to keep traffic moving.
They’ve been busy this year.
“We’ve had over a thousand accidents on 285 just this year,” Sgt. Matt McGinnis told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach.
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McGinnis told Gehlbach that they want drivers to be ready when the I-285/Ga. 400 interchange closures begin on Saturday.
GDOT announced Monday that they will start to reduce I-285 eastbound down to three lanes between Roswell Road and Ashford Dunwoody Road. The same process will start two weeks later on the westbound lanes.
The real concern is for Monday morning.
“The volume of traffic probably won’t change. The lane reduction is going to cause more delays, cause more frustration out there,” McGinnis said.
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Gehlbach rode with the department’s traffic units to see how they are preparing.
On Thursday morning, Gehlbach rode with Officer Nick Trujillo, who is on the road each morning by 6 a.m.
“Just passing riverside drive coming up on Roswell starts backing up…”
The morning traffic Thursday was light, but police expect traffic all the way back to the Chattahoochee River and into Cobb County by next week.
Police say the problem becomes one fender-bender or minor accident that could clog things up for hours.
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With no room for error, they urge anyone to move off the road and try to get to a shoulder.
“There is no where for people to pull off. So you have to keep going till you can get to a shoulder and that may be a mile or two down the road,” McGinnis said.
The eastbound lane closure will happen Saturday, then the westbound side will go down to three lanes within the next two weeks.
The project will demolish and rebuild bridges through the corridor. The closures and work are expect to last up to eight months.
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