Speed limit increases on Nov. 1 for portions of I-285 in DeKalb County
10/4/2013, 6 a.m.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is increasing the speed on portions of I-285 that go through DeKalb County effective Nov. 1.
In a recent letter to stakeholders, GDOT Chief Engineer Russell McMurry said the speed limit will rise to 65 mph on 27 miles of the interstate south of the I-20 interchange.
He said the decision to raise the speed limit is the result of careful review and analysis of actual speeds, traffic volumes and crash data on I-285.
“Sixty-five mph is the maximum speed allowable by Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-181) for interstate highways in urban areas such as metropolitan Atlanta,” he said. “The new 65 mph speed limit will be more consistent with current driver expectations and behavior, and on those 27 miles of I-285 south of the I-20 interchanges, the new 65 mph speed limit will be posted as a constant speed limit.”
McMurry said the speed limit also will increase to 65 mph on the northern end of I-285 in 2014 through a “new variable speed limit roadway detection system and signage.”
“The 36 miles of top end I-285 carry an average of 50,000 more vehicles a day than the southern section, and in some sections, 100,000 more, and have many more or closely spaced interchanges as the southern section,” McMurry said. “Higher traffic volumes and more interchanges mean more weaving and more merging, which result in congested areas during the rush-hour peak times.”
McMurry said that GDOT’s Traffic Management Center operators monitor metro Atlanta roadways round-the-clock for crashes, vehicle breakdowns and heavy congestion.
“The VSL system will allow our Traffic Management Center operators to make instant, real-time adjustments to roadways signage to reduce the speed limit in and leading up to the affected area,” he said. “They will also simultaneously activate the I-285 overhead changeable message signs to alert motorists of the upcoming reduced speed limit.”
With the system, speeds can be reduced in 10-mph increments but will never be lowered below 35 mph.
McMurry said GDOT is prepared to help commuters, transit system operators and others understand the changes.
“As we prepare for VSL implementation, an educational public outreach campaign will be in place,” he said.
In a Sept. 25 memorandum to constituents, DeKalb Commissioner Stan Watson said he wanted to make sure that residents are aware of the change that will affect the portion of I-285 south of I-20.
“Please be safe with this increased speed law,” Watson said.
For more information, call 404-371-3681.