The rapidly completing reconstruction of an overpass on I-85 has rightfully been the focus of the commuting public and regional traffic reporting for weeks.

John Heagy, chair of the Central DeKalb Perimeter Community Improvement District.

The Georgia Department of Transportation, Georgia Regional Transit Authority, MARTA and other metro transit agencies, as well as metro Atlanta employers and the commuting public, should all be commended for doing their parts to redirect and restructure morning and evening commutes to minimize congestion and back-ups during the demolition and bridge construction.

Diane Calloway, chair of the Fulton Perimeter Community Improvement District.

But work continues on a major highway project closer to home that will help alleviate future traffic problems in our immediate area. At I-285 and Ga. 400, the first phases of construction of the new interchange are underway.

The Perimeter Community Improvement Districts (PCIDs), two self-funded CIDs, comprise 4.2 square miles around the Perimeter Center sub-market. The PCIDs straddle two counties (DeKalb and Fulton) as well as parts of three municipalities (Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs). Our CIDs are voluntarily financed by an additional 4 mills of property taxes paid by the commercial property owners within the two districts.

Transportation and transit improvements for the region’s largest office sub-market, as well as leading medical center campuses are the primary focus of our CIDs.

Towards that end, the Central DeKalb and Fulton Perimeter Community Improvement Districts committed $10 million toward the initial construction costs of upgrading and replacing the 285/400 interchange. On Friday, May 26, at the next meeting of our Perimeter Business Alliance, we will present a check for those funds to Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry.

This partnership makes clear our commitment to serve as catalysts, collaborators and representatives of the area’s business community, supporting and contributing towards infrastructure improvements that serve to make our Perimeter Center area even more attractive.

In the Perimeter Center sub-market, our job is to enhance the reputation of Georgia’s Fortune 1000 address of choice, as well as to further develop and maintain one of the premier live, work and play communities in the Southeast. Since the creation of the Central DeKalb CID in 1999, and later the Fulton CID, we have invested millions. And we plan to invest more.

Our existing 285/400 interchange has become one of the region’s most challenged. It handles nearing 500,000 autos and trucks daily, well beyond its original design capacity.

Perimeter business leaders and property owners understand that there is no free lunch and we do not expect our state or federal governments to make major investments in this region without some type of commitment or contribution from the business community.

This new interchange will incorporate miles of fly-over bridges and collector distributor lanes. These lanes will reach Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Roswell Road along I-285 and run along Ga. 400 from the Glenridge Connector to north of Abernathy Road.

The new interchange will take a few years to complete, compared to the months involved in reconstructing the overpass on I-85, but as with that project and the impressive construction completion timeline, it was a team effort, led by GDOT and assisted and supported by the commuting public.

Collaboration and cooperation take effort, but it is almost always more than worth the time and leadership involved in assembling and implementing them to get the job done.

John Heagy chairs the Central DeKalb Perimeter Community Improvement District. Diane Calloway chairs the Fulton Perimeter Community Improvement District. Together, the two organizations make up the Perimeter Community Improvement Districts.