Fewer than four years from now, motorists encountering the interchange of Interstate 285 and Georgia State Route 400 will enjoy the convenience of flyover ramps and a slew of new lanes designed to speed up their trips.
Until then, it’s going to be yellow flashing lights, orange-and-white-striped sawhorses and little orange cones warning drivers to slow down for what promises to be the most disruptive highway construction project in the history of metro Atlanta.
According to this week’s Atlanta Business Chronicle, companies are already preparing for the construction congestion.
For instance, John Aquilino, real estate and workplace manager at VMWare, a technology firm with about 1,200 employees at its Central Perimeter office, said teleworking began to take off there two years ago when the Palo Alto, Califorina-based company acquired AirWatch.
“It’s part of the culture now,” he said. “You can come in at 7 or 8 [in the morning] and the majority of the team is there. They’re working around traffic.”
Northside Hospital, located on Pill Hill, has taken teleworking and flex scheduling a step further with a formal policy for its 9,600 employees instituted last spring.
“Employee shifts were changed where possible to a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule, helping reduce traffic during rush hours and keeping our employees out of congested conditions,” said Lee Echols, Northside’s vice president for marketing and communications.
Northside also has reduced the number of employees who come into the Central Perimeter area each day by moving some of its offices.
Another way Central Perimeter employees can avoid creeping through rush-hour traffic during the upcoming construction period is to get out of their cars entirely. The two transit agencies serving the area, MARTA and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA), are stepping up with initiatives timed to coincide with the interchange project.
GRTA, which serves the entire metro region with commuter buses, is adding three routes into the Central Perimeter area. The first, which launched in September, runs from Cumming to the MARTA stations in Dunwoody and Sandy Springs.
Two routes due to start in January will connect Central Perimeter with Town Center Mall in Kennesaw and Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville.
Construction at the intersection of Georgia 400 and I-285 is expected to last until mid-2020.