Ray and Mary Whalen have lived in their Brookhaven home since 1978. Their house backs up to I-285 near Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

“It’s such a nice area,” Mary said. “It’s convenient to everything and we don’t have to go very far for groceries or anything. It’s wonderful.”

It’s that convenience that’s drawn businesses, development, and more traffic over the years. To help ease congestion, GDOT is now proposing elevated toll lanes on I-285 from Spaghetti Junction to the Cobb Cloverleaf.

“The ones on 285 would be on both sides,” said GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale. “They wouldn’t be reversible like the northwest corridor.”

“I think it’s awful,” Mary said.

The proposed toll lanes would run right near the Whalen’s backyard.

“Property values are going to drop I’m sure,” said Ray. “’And then the noise, you can hear it back there now.”

The proposed express lanes would impact several communities, including Dunwoody.

“Nobody wants to live with an expressway above the tree lined looking down on your community and so noise is part of it, pollution is part of it,” said Robert Wittenstein, past president of the Dunwoody Homeowner’s Association.

Wittenstein said some homeowners would much rather have light rail.

“Instead of repelling people it would actually attract people because while nobody wants to live near a freeway, people absolutely want to live near light rail stations.”

As of now the I-285 project is moving forward. It would cost $4.6 billion as part of the state’s Major Mobility Investment Program.

GDOT is in the early stages of the project and meeting with homeowners who may be impacted to hear their concerns. GDOT reps are hearing the complaints but Dale said something must be done to help alleviate the traffic.

“Unfortunately, this central location is also where over 240 thousand cars, including freight, go everyday so this is one of the most heavily traveled sections of interstate in our country not just our state.”

Dale said the elevated toll lanes would have much less impact on homeowners than ground-level toll lanes.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Multimedia Journalist

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