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GDOT closes lanes for testing at night before work begins on I-20, I-285 interchange
I-20 & 285 interchange
The current I-120/I-285 Intersection is shown. Work to reconstruct the intersection is set to begin as early as April and run through 2026, according to GDOT. (Special | GDOT)

DECATUR, Ga. — Georgia Department of Transportation contractors began a week of overnight lane closures on I-20 eastbound in DeKalb County Monday in anticipation of construction of the I-285/I-20 East Interchange project in a few months.

Overnight closures were scheduled nightly from 7 p.m. through 6 a.m. through Friday, Feb. 3. One right lane will be closed on I-20 eastbound between Wesley Chapel and Panola roads, a GDOT news release stated.

The closures will allow crews to perform soil testing and surveying before major construction begins as early as April and runs through 2026 on the massive project, according to GDOT.

Tens of thousands of Newton County residents commute to work in Atlanta and other parts of Metro Atlanta through the interchange.

The I-285/I-20 East Interchange Project is intended to improve traffic flow and safety at the busy intersection of the two heavily-traveled interstates — where traffic often backs up during morning and evening rush hours and tractor-trailer wrecks are common occurrences because of the current design.  

It will include reconstruction of the ramps directly connecting I-285 and I-20 East and add a combination of connecting lanes and auxiliary lanes along I-20 east of the interchange, according to GDOT.

The $691 million project is set to include ramp reconstruction, including I-20 westbound to I-285 southbound, I-20 westbound to I-285 northbound, and I-285 southbound to I-20 eastbound ramps.

It also will include:

• Construction of collector-distributor lanes between Wesley Chapel Road and the interchange, and a westbound auxiliary lane between Lithonia Industrial Boulevard and Wesley Chapel Road. 

Collector-distributor lanes run parallel to the main travel lanes of an interstate or highway, connecting them to access roads or entrance ramps in order to improve traffic flow, speed and safety, according to GDOT. 

Auxiliary lanes are the extra lanes alongside the main lanes that give drivers more time to merge in or out when entering or exiting the highway, GDOT said on its website.

• Widening the I-20 eastbound to I-285 northbound ramp from one to two lanes;

• Construction of one eastbound auxiliary lane from Panola Road to Lithonia Industrial Boulevard;

• Replacement of the Miller Road and Fairington Road bridges over I-20, and the I-20 bridge over Snapfinger Creek to accommodate the new auxiliary and CD lanes.