ATLANTA – The long anticipated Georgia 400/I-85 Interchange opened Wednesday afternoon. It promises to provide a smoother ride for thousands of commuters.
The interchange is a series of ramps and bridges that will allow commuters to transition from Georgia 400 to I-85 in midtown without taking to area surface streets.
The interchange was supposed to open at the end of 2013, but bad weather caused delays.
For twenty years, drivers have had to exit Georgia 400 southbound and take to Sidney Marcus Boulevard, Buford Highway, and Lenox Road in order to transition to I-85 north.
Commuters have had to rely on the same surface streets to get from I-85 south to 400.
"It was designed for traffic 20 years ago, or 50 years ago," said one commuter.
The interchange will take drivers directly from 400 to I-85 and back.
"We're looking at taking probably six to seven thousand cars off of those surface streets every day, which is a lot of volume," said the DOT's Mark McKinnon.
Gov. Nathan Deal attended a Wednesday afternoon ribbon cutting, saying the solution was better late than never.
"This was a project that was included in the original proposal for Highway 400, but I understand was abandoned about 20 years because they thought the cost was going to be too much and they thought the traffic just wasn't going to justify that," Deal said.
According to GDOT, the new interchange will carry some 32,000 vehicles and save commuters an estimated five minutes per trip.