The months of roadwork at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will begin to pay off for travelers this weekend, especially if you’re coming from Intown.

Weather permitting, road crews will open a permanent, three-lane stretch of roadway leading to the domestic terminal on Saturday morning, allowing for the closure of the temporary, two-lane detour route that has been in use since last December. The new route will eliminate a merge intersection that had contributed to congestion, as well as the S-curve deviation lined with orange barrels and concrete barricades that had further slowed incoming traffic.

“With the opening of the improved, permanent roadway, the worst of the traffic congestion will be behind us,” said Hartsfield-Jackson Interim General Manager Miguel Southwell. “When it’s complete, drivers will have more time to decide where they need to go, creating a safer environment for our customers.”

The inbound roadway improvement project is designed to upgrade the inbound roadway network between I-85 and Camp Creek Parkway on the north and Riverdale Road on the south, offering airline passengers and other airport users a safer, more convenient drive to the airport. The approximately $60 million project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

By the end of June, the airport expects to open a new, permanent lane that provides a more direct route to the Airport Park Ride lots and the Rental Car Center. In the final stage of work, scheduled to be completed by year’s end, airport traffic leading from I-85 south and Camp Creek Parkway will be separated to eliminate merge lanes.

When the project is completed, the estimated travel time between the I-85 south-bound exit and the domestic terminal is expected to be restored to 2-3 minutes, rather than then 5-6 minutes that the trip now requires. Following this weekend’s roadway changes, travelers should budget an extra few minutes into their trip to the Airport as drivers become accustomed to the new traffic pattern.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.