ATLANTA — A half-century ago today, The Perimeter was born.
Inaugurated on Oct. 15, 1969, Interstate-285 was established as a 64-mile loop around Atlanta mostly to help people traveling north and south on I-85 and I-75 get around the city.
It has since become an indispensable roadway for people traveling into Atlanta from suburbs outside The Perimeter, seeing more than two million cars in daily traffic volume.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is marking I-285's 50th anniversary with a pop-up exhibit at Perimeter Mall this week and through the weekend, where people can look at old photos of the highway and check out a LEGO version of the interstate.
The exhibit is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. this week and is free to the public. On Sunday it will be open from noon.-7 p.m. It's located at the lower level of the mall near Dillard's, according to the Georgia 511 Facebook page.
GDOT says it is also currently taking steps to improve traffic flow along the infamously congested highway. The Major Mobility Investment Program "will construct express lanes projects to the most congested sections of the I-285 corridor" and "form a connected transportation network that provides motorists with congestion relief and more reliable travel times" the agency says.
I-285 was completed at an original cost of $90 million and at first was only a two-lane highway in each direction. It was famously opened with Gov. Lester Maddox bursting through a paper "ribbon" on the hood of a car.
It's had its share of other famous moments - Braves pitcher Pascual Perez earned the nickname "Perimeter Pascual" after getting lost on I-285 on his way to a game and going around the city multiple times.
More recently, the interstate was the scene of money falling out of an armored truck this past summer, a bizarre incident that made headlines around the country.
With Atlanta continuing to grow at a breakneck pace, it figures I-285 will continue to be a critical piece of our city's daily life.
50 years of I-285