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Old 11-28-2011, 08:47 PM   #1
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Atlanta traffic

Hi,
Need trip routing help from Nashville,TN, to Tampa,FL. We'll be in a 35ft Class A towing a car and would like to go down interstate highways through GA but worried about traffic horror stories going around/through Atlanta. Would we be better to go down through Alabama to avoid Atlanta even though it would mean driving less on interstates? We'd be getting to Atlanta at mid-day on a weekday.
Thanks for any advice.
Jim
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:01 PM   #2
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We lived in Atlanta for 6 years and commuted daily there. We now drive a 35' motorhome through there at least four times per year with no issues while going and coming from our Fl winter home. If you time your trip to avoid rush hours (travel between 10a - 3p weekdays) or travel through on Saturday and Sunday you should be ok. Best route is straight through on 75, but 285 bypass is not bad now that all the construction is done. If your karma is bad and you are unlucky enough to hit a backup, relax. It will clear.

Atlanta can be intimidating with 10 or so lanes in each direction and a ton of traffic, but lots of people survive the drive every day. Use Google Maps or another source to check traffic as you get close. One caveat. It is a long distance from the last rest area north of Atlanta to the first available south of Atlanta. Plan accordingly.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
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We have driven I-75 on many occasions to get on the other side of Atlanta. We usually go around the East side on I 675 and I 285 rather than staying on I-75 "up the middle". The perimeter routes are multi-lanes and are easy to navigate........just watch the signs so you don't miss a ramp. Atlanta has traffic 24 hours a day but at midday it should be just fine for you.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:32 PM   #4
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Don't be afraid of going straight thru Atlanta. I'm a Houston, Texas boy, born in Marietta, GA, and the traffic in Atlanta still frustrates me. I try to drive there 3-4 times a year at least.

Last year the Atlanta Journal/Constitution had a short article proudly proclaiming that the Atlanta police had successfully gotten the AVERAGE speed on I-285 down to 90 mph.

Traffic in any mega-large, unfamiliar town can be intimidating. I suggest you drive 50-55 mph, stay in one of the slow lanes, and enjoy your trip. If you go thru during high traffic periods, plan on more time.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:21 AM   #5
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I live in Marietta GA which is just outside the 285 loop around Atlanta. So I drive the top part of the 285 loop to get to I-85 N all the time and I drive the south and the west side to get to I-75 S and I-85 S and I-20. Yes there is traffic all the time and it is a little less between 10 and 3 and on weekends but it is there around the clock. I drive my 44' rig on the 285 loop all the time. Pick your lane and drive the speed you feel good at and let them all go around you. I NEVER STAY IN THE RIGHT HAND LANE because traffic backs up on exit ramps and comes to a standstill and cars/trucks are coming off and on all the time. I like the 2 or 3rd lane from the left because it stays moving at an easy pace. One place to avoid if you can is coming West on the top of the 285 loop where it connects to I-75 North to Chattanooga. Those outside lanes become turn lanes onto I-75 and slow way down and everybody stays out of them and then cuts in at the last minute. Just make sure you know what exit you want and drive your own speed in your own lane. 18 wheeler trucks are not allowed to drive through Atlanta on I-75 and I-85 they have to go on the 285 loop unless they are making a delivery so it does lessen the big rig traffic through Atlanta but I always take the 285 loop and never go through downtown.
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Old 11-29-2011, 08:53 AM   #6
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I'm with Mike Canter. Go straight through and stay out of the right lane - that is where the jams usually start. Sunday mornings are a great time to go through. Just stay in your lane and try to run with the slower traffic.
I seriously doubt the average speed on I-285 is 90 MPH, but still you have more lanes if you go straight through town. There is a section of 285 that is narrow, just west of I-75 that can be interesting in heavy traffic.
Just don't try the trip when there is a football game at Tech or the Dome and pay attention to what is going on up in front of you. Watch the signs and have the co-pilot watch them as well. It is a good idea to discuss with each other what the signs say and what the intended route is. Atlanta interstates have very good signage and if you pay attention you will be fine.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #7
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Although we drive interstates and have driven straight through Atlanta in mid day. My preference is to avoid big cities and to avoid interstates. I like to arrive relaxed and I am seldom relaxed on an interstate.

We have gone way out of our way over the years to avoid Atlanta, sometimes adding a day and a couple of hundred miles in the process, not a bad idea if not in a hurry to get someplace. We find some off our most interesting stops off the interstate corridor.

We do drive in Los Angeles and have even driven through Chicago. These may be unavoidable and the best advice I read here was pick your lane and your speed and don't let them bother you.
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:22 AM   #8
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Straight through from 10:30 till 2:45pm is not bad. Stay in the middle and lookout for the I-20 exit on the left. We went through there in August and it was great with 5 rigs.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:04 PM   #9
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Thanks, guys, appreciate all the recommendations and detailed advice. Think I'll try going straight through on I-75, middle lanes, moderate speed at about 10a.m. on Thursday.
Jim
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:09 PM   #10
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Good choice, I think. You'll be fine.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seadogjim View Post
Thanks, guys, appreciate all the recommendations and detailed advice. Think I'll try going straight through on I-75, middle lanes, moderate speed at about 10a.m. on Thursday.
Jim
Best choice from my experience with Atlanta.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:32 PM   #12
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I live in Marietta GA which is just outside the 285 loop around Atlanta. So I drive the top part of the 285 loop to get to I-85 N all the time and I drive the south and the west side to get to I-75 S and I-85 S and I-20. Yes there is traffic all the time and it is a little less between 10 and 3 and on weekends but it is there around the clock. I drive my 44' rig on the 285 loop all the time. Pick your lane and drive the speed you feel good at and let them all go around you. I NEVER STAY IN THE RIGHT HAND LANE because traffic backs up on exit ramps and comes to a standstill and cars/trucks are coming off and on all the time. I like the 2 or 3rd lane from the left because it stays moving at an easy pace. One place to avoid if you can is coming West on the top of the 285 loop where it connects to I-75 North to Chattanooga. Those outside lanes become turn lanes onto I-75 and slow way down and everybody stays out of them and then cuts in at the last minute. Just make sure you know what exit you want and drive your own speed in your own lane. 18 wheeler trucks are not allowed to drive through Atlanta on I-75 and I-85 they have to go on the 285 loop unless they are making a delivery so it does lessen the big rig traffic through Atlanta but I always take the 285 loop and never go through downtown.
Second lane over is a good place to hang out, most of the truckers do this too. As for going straight thru, there are a few lane changes you have to make, which can get hairy in heavy traffic. East side of the perimeter is best if your coming down 400 or 85, west or east side if coming down 75. I've logged over a million miles in the past 20 years around Atlanta, and traffic is totally unpredictable outside of rush hour. We have lots of "Mystery Jams" where traffic will go from 90 to 0 all of the sudden, then back to 90 five minutes later. Average speed though is usually around 60-65 mph.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:37 PM   #13
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This summer we stayed in an RV park just south of Atlanta and drove into Atlanta to the Aquarium (great aquarium but get there early) one day and then the next day through Atlanta heading north on the freeway. My thought is it's city traffic same as most large cities - stay away from rush hour and just slog on through using the shortest or best route for you and be patient if need be.
Safe travels
Bob
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:38 PM   #14
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We always go thru Atlanta on I-75. Never had a problem. We try to avoid the rush hours.
Greg
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