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Commuter Dude: 55-mph returns to I-285

ATLANTA – The top end of I-285 is temporally going “back to the future” with the return of the double nickel.

You might have noticed the metal 55-mile-per-hour signs that have returned to the section of I-285 near Georgia 400.

It’s all due to the heavy construction that is already underway in that area.

Commuter Dude Jerry Carnes set his cruise control to 55 for a ride along the top end, and found it did not sit well with several drivers who pushed his back bumper with dirty looks.

In the fall of 2015, the Georgia Department of Transportation replaced the 55-mile-an-hour speed limit on the top end perimeter with electronic signs that vary the speed limit between 35 and 65 miles-per-hour, depending on traffic. The variable speed limit arrived with mixed reviews from commuters who found the electronic signs didn't always work.

A GDOT contractor is now at work on a massive project that will transform the interchange of I-285 and Georgia 400. New ramps and lanes are coming.

GDOT says it's the construction and a risk of harm to the electronic signs that's led to their temporary removal.

“In order not to have signs damaged, signs run over, or signs miscommunicating, we are removing the signs,” says GDOT’s Natalie Dale. “We see benefits from the variable speed limits.”

The electronic signs will return when the project ends in 2020.

Right now, many of the electronic signs are dark as the GDOT contractor prepares to remove them. Numerous 55-mile-an-hour signs have been installed to guide traffic through the construction zone. Dale says the contractor may place permanent metal signs to lower the speed limit at times below 55 mph.

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