• Speed limit changing on the top end perimeter


    ATLANTA - Drivers will start to see signs on Interstate 285 that will change the speed limit according to traffic and weather patterns.

    The new electronic signs are along the interstate in Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties.

    On Sunday morning, Georgia Department of Transportation crews began to take the black bags off the signs and turn them on. They are also removing all the old 55 mph speed limit signs.

    The new signs will not only increase the speed limit, but they’ll make it adjustable.

    GDOT says the top end of the perimeter, I-285 from one Interstate 20 interchange to the other, is one of the worst spots for traffic in the metro.

    "Too many cars, too many people. Everyone's on the road at the same time,” said one driver.

    Officials hope the new variable speed limit signs will help warn drivers and slow them down.

    "The number one reason for this is safety," said GDOT’s chief engineer Russell McMurry.

    McMurry says for most of the day the signs will stay at 65 miles per hour, matching the new limit on the south side of the perimeter. But at times of congestion like rush hour, accidents, or bad weather, the speed limit will move in 10 mile-per-hour increments all the way down to 35.

    GDOT hopes to cut down on the stop-and-go that slows everyone down and prevent secondary crashes.

    "If everyone can comply and try to drive a similar speed limit, and is not having the slamming on brakes, they can actually get there faster,” said McMurry.

    GDOT will monitor conditions during the morning and afternoon rush hour, when there's an accident, or in bad weather and adjust the speed limit to slow down drivers before the trouble.

    "We're going to give you that notice, not just flip the sign. It’s not about a speed trap at all. It's really about trying to give the motorist the information they need that something is ahead of them that they need to slow down for,” said McMurry.

    Some commuters say they aren't sure the change, and changing speed limits, will help.

    "I can see where there could be a lot of issues with that, where it could cause a lot of confusion,” said one driver.

    “I just ask that everyone give this a chance,” said McMurry. “It’s going to take some patience, take some understanding."

    Officials say it should stay at 65 mph between 18 and 20 hours each day.

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