New technology scheduled to be installed on I-285 in Atlanta will enable the speed limit to be raised, some of the time. This technology allows for the speed limit to be raised, or lowered, depending on traffic conditions or congestion.
Officials with the Georgia Department of Transportation say they hope to begin the signage to activate the system by late spring/early summer of 2013. The plan is to take it up to 65 mph at times when it is safe to do so. The speed limit currently is 55.
"We don't know how long the entire project will take, but the speed limit remains 55 until we finish with all the signs," said Jill Goldberg, a spokesperson for GDOT. "Signs will not be overhead on each lane but will be like the tradition placement on the shoulders. We will have the ability to use our overhead message boards if needed to advise of conditions."
The variable speeds will only operate on the I-285 north of the I-20 where traffic is heaviest, according to officials. Sections of I-285 south of I-20 will be raised to 65 mph permanently at that time.
A story in The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that although the system is not new, DOT officials believe it is among the first in the country to be used to deal with traffic congestion. Goldberg said the system is used a lot in Europe though and there are a few other places in the US that use it, including Tampa and Seattle.
Some people, however, believe raising the limit to 65 is not high enough. One commenter on Monroe-GA Patch Facebook page said it should be taken up to 70 or even 75 mph. Another on Loganville-Grayson's Facebook page said that 65 mph on I-285 is slow, noting, "it isn't called the Atlanta Autobahn for nothing." Another, however, said raising the limit to 65 legally will just cause drivers who already go 70 mph to up their speed to 80.
Do you think this new variable speed limit system will help the congestion on I-285?