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Interstate 285 shield
Interstate 285
Auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System
The Perimeter
Maintained by GDOT
Length: 63.98 mi[1] (102.97 km)
Beltway around Atlanta
Georgia State Routes
< SR 406 Georgia 407.svg SR 408 >

Interstate 285 (I-285) is a beltway Interstate Highway encircling Atlanta, Georgia, for 63.98 miles (102.97 km).[1] I-285 is also known as unsigned State Route 407 and is colloquially referred to as the Perimeter. It is very heavily traveled, and portions of the highway always slow, sometimes to a crawl, during rush hour. It is also signed as Atlanta Bypass, although suburban sprawl has made it one of the most heavily traveled roadways in the country.

I-285 intersects with Interstate 85 in the northeast (Tom Moreland Interchange/"Spaghetti Junction") and southwest, Interstate 75 in the northwest ("Cobb Cloverleaf") and south, Interstate 20 (Tom Murphy Freeway/Ralph David Abernathy Freeway/Purple Heart Highway) in the east and west, and Georgia 400 (Turner McDonald Parkway/T. Harvey Mathis Parkway) in the north. It also meets one end each of Interstate 675, Langford Parkway ("Lakewood Freeway"), and the Stone Mountain Freeway. For 1.21 miles (1.95 km) in the southwest corner, I-85 occupies the median of I-285, yet the roadways remain separate.[1] Exits are numbered clockwise, starting at the southwestern-most point at I-85, and ending just east of there where it meets I-85 again.

Between I-85 and I-20 in southwest Fulton County, I-285 is designated as the "Bob A. Holmes Freeway". It is also designated as "James E. 'Billy' McKinney Highway" between I-20 in northwest Atlanta and I-75 near Cumberland Mall.

The highway was officially opened in 1969. At that time, I-285 had only four lanes (two each way). Today, it is eight to 12 lanes wide, with the northern part from I-75 to Georgia 400 to I-85 being by far the most heavily traveled. One segment of the highway near the junction with Interstate 85 widens to 18 lanes, including collector-distributor lanes.

To many residents of Atlanta, the Perimeter defines a useful boundary to separate metro Atlanta's core from its surrounding suburbs. Many people will distinguish a location as being inside or outside the Perimeter, sometimes abbreviated as ITP and OTP, a recent local neologism. This was also the rough boundary chosen by BellSouth for separating landline telephone exchanges in suburban area code 770 from the existing area code 404 in 1995.

About half of the total mileage of I-285 is covered by Georgia NaviGAtor, Georgia's intelligent transportation system (ITS). Sixty-two CCTV video cameras, nine electronic message signs and full traffic-detection sensors are installed between I-75 in the northwest and I-20 in the east. Additional ITS coverage is currently under construction on the west and southeast sides of the loop, with completion expected in spring 2007.

Because the Perimeter was built so near the city, a second Outer Perimeter (Georgia 500) was proposed, to exist outside even most of the exurbs. Due to local opposition, most of the idea has been shelved indefinitely; however the Northern Arc section continues to be raised as a possibility.

A portion of the section between I-75 and I-85 on the south side of I-285 has been bridged with a new runway and taxiway for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Computer animations were developed prior to construction to simulate a jumbo jet touching down on the runway from a driver's perspective. The entire highway within the tunnels is outfitted with stopped-vehicle sensors and fire detectors. Two electronic signs on either side of the tunnels can warn drivers if the tunnel is closed in an emergency.



  • Heavy trucks traveling through (but not into) Atlanta are required to bypass the city on I-285, as there is a well-signed and heavily enforced ban on through truck traffic along I-75, I-85, I-20, Georgia 400, and many other major Atlanta thoroughfares. As with highways just outside I-285, trucks are also prohibited from the far-left lane or two (except where there are left exits open to trucks).
  • The northern portion of I-285, east of the "Cobb Cloverleaf" (I-75 junction) to "Spaghetti Junction" (I-85 junction), is frequently referred to as the Top End perimeter in traffic reports, especially by Captain Herb Emory (ABC affiliate WSB-TV and WSB AM) and Jason Durden on WSB-FM.
  • The stretch of I-285 between I-75 and I-85 on the north end is one of the busiest freeways in the United States, handling about 250,000 cars per day and crossing through three counties. Through that stretch, the freeway balloons from six or eight lanes to anywhere between ten and fourteen lanes. A project called revive285 is studying ways to improve this corridor.
  • Rapper Gucci Mane pays tribute to I-285 in his songs Pillz, and Wasted
  • Rapper T.I. pays tribute to I-285 in his song 24's
  • Rapper Ludacris pays tribute to I-285 in his song Drinkin' and Drivin' with Young Jeezy
  • Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pascual Pérez missed a 1982 game where he was supposed to be the starting pitcher, by circling I-285 twice. Thereafter, his nickname was "I-285." The Braves won the game.
  • I-285 cost $90 million to complete in 1969. The reconstruction, particularly on the top-end and the Spaghetti Junction reconfiguration, has cost about $355 million.
  • The I-285 and Georgia 400 interchange is frequently cited as the most dangerous intersection in Atlanta, and is slated to be reconfigured with collector/distributor roads along Georgia 400 and a complete full stack interchange that will make it the largest freeway interchange east of Los Angeles.[citation needed] The new interchange is expected to be able to handle around 300,000 cars per day.[citation needed] Feasibility studies have been completed, and it is in Atlanta's 2025 Regional Transportation Plan.
  • Signage outside of I-285 along I-75 and I-85 refers to I-285 as the "Atlanta Bypass". However, locals know that it is actually one of Atlanta's main streets. Since the 1970s, the Georgia Department of Transportation has planned an outer loop, which would be a roughly 230 mile (370 km) circumferential loop around metropolitan Atlanta. Under current Governor Sonny Perdue, the plans were dropped from the Regional Transportation Plan, in favor of the expansion of the rural state road network outside of Atlanta. As a sidenote, the state still retains ownership of most of the land that would be needed to complete at least the northern section of the Outer Loop, known as the Northern Arc. As of 2007, ideas have been floated to build that highway even further north, through areas which are still rural.

Exit list

The following exits are listed clockwise: south to north, west to east, north to south and east to west. In 2000, Georgia replaced the actual sequential exit numbers with mile-log numbers.

County # Destinations Notes
Fulton 2 1 Washington Road
3 2 Camp Creek Parkway (SR 6) - Atl Airport
4 5 SR 154 / SR 166 (Langford Parkway, Campbellton Road) Signed as exits 5A (north/east) and 5B (south/west)
5 7 Cascade Road Former SR 154
6 9 SR 139 (ML King Jr. Drive) – Adamsville
7 10 I-20 (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway, Tom Murphy Freeway, SR 402) – Atlanta, Birmingham Signed as exits 10A (east) and 10B (west)
8 12 US 78 (Hollowell Parkway, SR 8) / US 278
9 13 Bolton Road Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 70
Cobb 10 15 SR 280 (South Cobb Drive) – Smyrna
11 16 South Atlanta Road - Smyrna Former US 41/SR 3
12 18 Paces Ferry Road - Vinings
13 19 US 41 (Cobb Parkway, SR 3) – Dobbins ARB Counterclockwise exit is part of exit 20
14 20 I-75 (SR 401) – Atlanta, Chattanooga, Marietta Cobb Cloverleaf
Fulton 15 22 Northside Drive, New Northside Drive, Powers Ferry Road
16 24 Riverside Drive
17 25 US 19 south (Roswell Road, SR 9) – Sandy Springs Counterclockwise end of US 19 overlap
18 26 Glenridge Drive, Glenridge Connector Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance; former SR 407 Loop
19 27 US 19 north / SR 400Atlanta, Dahlonega, Cumming Clockwise end of US 19 overlap
DeKalb 20 28 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
21 29 Ashford-Dunwoody Road
22 30 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, North Shallowford Road, North Peachtree Road
23 31 SR 141 (Peachtree Industrial Boulevard) – Chamblee Signed as exits 31A (south) and 31B (north)
25 32 US 23 (Buford Highway, SR 13) – Doraville
26 33 I-85 (SR 403) – Atlanta, Greenville, Charlotte Spaghetti Junction; signed as exits 33A (south) and 33B (north) clockwise
27 34 Chamblee-Tucker Road Clockwise exit is part of exit 33A
27A 36 Northlake Parkway Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
28 37 SR 236 (LaVista Road) – Tucker
29 38 US 29 (Lawrenceville Highway, SR 8)
30 39 US 78 (SR 410) – Decatur, Atlanta, Snellville, Athens Signed as exits 39A (west) and 39B (east)
31 40 East Ponce de Leon Avenue - Clarkston Clockwise exit and counterclockwise entrance
31 40 Church Street - Clarkston Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
32 41 SR 10 (Memorial Drive) – Avondale Estates
32A 42 Indian Creek Transit Station Counterclockwise exit and clockwise entrance
33 43 US 278 (Covington Highway, SR 12)
34 44 Glenwood Road Former SR 260
35 46 I-20 (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway, Purple Heart Highway, SR 402) – Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia Signed as exits 46A (west) and 46B (east) counterclockwise
36 48 SR 155 (Flat Shoals Road, Candler Road)
37 51 Bouldercrest Road
38 52 I-675 south (SR 413) – Macon
39 53 US 23 (Moreland Avenue, SR 42) – Fort Gillem
Fulton 40 55 SR 54 (Jonesboro Road) – Forest Park
Clayton 41 58 I-75 (SR 401) – Atlanta, Macon, Tampa
42 59 Clark Howell Highway, Loop Road — Air Cargo Clockwise exit is part of exit 58
43 60 SR 139 (Riverdale Road)
Clayton, Fulton 44 61 I-85 (SR 403) – Columbus, Montgomery, Atl Airport, Atlanta
1 62 SR 14 Spur (South Fulton Parkway) / SR 279 (Old National Highway)

The original Exit 24 went to Tilly Mill Road and Flowers Road. When I-285 was reconfigured in the 1990s, the exit was removed.


External links



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