Commute Traffic Leaving Atlanta Airport

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Apr 29th, 2004, 09:52 PM
  #1
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Commute Traffic Leaving Atlanta Airport

We're landing at 5:30 P.M. at the Atlanta International Airport in Georga. Renting a car and driving towards Greenville, SC.

What would be the best route around Atlanta to avoid as much commute traffic as possible?

Would we run into a lot of traffic if we were to take I-20 east to Collinsville and then drive north on Hwy 124 and Hwy 20 to
I-85? Is it a nice drive?

Utahtea
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Apr 30th, 2004, 04:19 AM
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Utahtea -

What day of the week would this be? Unfortunately, 5:30pm is primed for major traffic jams during the weekdays and for some reason Thursdays and Fridays are even worse.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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If you are landing at 5:30; by the time you get off plane, get luggage, and go to car rental I'm guessing around 7 and by then most of major traffic is thinned out. Drive 75/85 straight through town, taking 85N. Unless you run into an accident you should be outside city limits and well on your way to Greenville in less than 1 hour.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 05:01 AM
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Smokyboy's directions are dead on. The Atlanta traffic is 24/7, but like he said unless you run into a accident, you will at least keep moving.
 
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Apr 30th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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beachdreams,

We are flying in on a Tuesday.

Smokyboy & Iceeu2,

We drove I-85 thought Atlanta a couple of years ago on a Sunday and to our delight there was NO traffic! Then again we're use to the SF Bay area traffic which is also 24/7.

One more question, what radio station will have the best traffic reports?

Thank you.

Utahtea

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Apr 30th, 2004, 09:33 AM
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WSB-750AM, every 10 min. or so
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Apr 30th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Woops, Capt. Herb comes on every 6 min.!
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Apr 30th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Utah, I live in Athens, and the day of the week is very vital here. If you are arriving on Saturday or Sunday, the game changes dramatically.

I travel to Atlanta frequently, and have for 37 years. I diasgree with Smoky on traffic volume. We often drive from Athens to mid town Atlanta via I 85, arriving about 7:30 PM. Outward bound traffic at that time is still very heavy on a weekday, with Fridays seemingly the worst.

Route 124 leaves I 20 east at Lithonia and goes north through the most congested of the eastern suburbs. For example, it goes right to Snellville which is a nightmare to drive through.

These are all Atlanta bedroom and light industry areas. So you are looking at the worst of the worst in terms of traffic congestion.

And to my knowledge there is no Collinsville Georgia. None listed on any index of cities and towns that I have.

Also, I 20 east is not light traffic either. It does not usually get as bad as I 85 north, but it is not exacly a breeze.

I don't care which way you go, if there is a wreck, you are tied up in traffic for miles and miles.

Assuming your flight is on time, which often it is not at that hour in Atlanta, you could be underway by 7 PM.
Your choices are essentially two.
One is to loop around south of the airport on I 285, the beltway, and drive north along the eastern leg of it near Stone Mountain. The southeast section between I 20 and I 75 is the lighest of the vaious sections of that road.

From I 20 north to I 85 can get backed up, but it is not the worst of the areas. From I 85 around to I 75, the so called Northern Perimeter, traffic is often standing rather than moving.
(But you don't need or want that section.)

The other route is to bulldog it through downtown on 75/85 and take the northeast expressway also known as I 85 all the way to Greenville.

This route is the easiest to follow. The exit from the airport is easy and picking up I 85 north is easy. The only tricky part is where 75 and 85 diverge in midtown Atlanta.

The other way, which I would use, asks you to go south on 85, then go east toward Macon in I 285, and then go north toward I 20 east. But finding it is the key.

.

I cannot think of any way to beat the rap.

My suggestion would be to have something to eat before leaving the airport, and delay mixing with the heavy stuff until 7:30. By then, traffic should be heavy but moving. But the wreck factor is the imponderable and unpredictable as to when the next one will happen.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 10:14 AM
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What day of the week are you arriving in Atlanta?
 
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Apr 30th, 2004, 12:07 PM
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Having just moved from ATL, and having made numerous trips to/from the ATL airport, thought I'd put in my 2 cents.

Unless you have to clear customs, there's no reason it should take 90 minutes to get from plane to rental car, especially if you are a preferred member of your car rental company which lets you go straight to the shuttle buses. If you don't make any wrong turns in the airport, and your car's ready for you, there's no reason you can't be in your car in 30 minutes, 45 tops. But if you checked bags, I guess it could take longer.

And I'd take the advice given here to barrel straight through the city on I-85 North. At least you'll be able to use the HOV lane. When you get on 85, get over to the left most lane as soon as you can.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 12:12 PM
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Oh, and Bob's right about the 75/85 split in Midtown. Follow the signs closely, it's counter intuitive. 85 goes off to the right, but breaks off to the left. As long as you stay in the 85 HOV lane, you'll be fine.

Just avoid the dangerous middle lanes at that split where the currents cross and idiots swerve across solid while lines because they're in the wrong lane for their respective interstate.
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Apr 30th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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We are flying in on Tuesday.

We're flying in from SFO so we won't be going though customs. We will be checking luggage. We're staying for 2 weeks Gota get my grandson hugging time in!

Thanks everyone!

Utahtea

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Apr 30th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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I have come in on that same flight, only I to take the shuttle to my car.

My suggestion is to dive in and swim.
Only I would NOT take the "down town connector". I would take I 285 around the the south and then north along the east side of Atlanta to the I 85 junction.
You are in heavy traffic any way you look at it.
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May 1st, 2004, 12:11 PM
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Thought I would weigh in as I am a frequent traveler via Hartsfield-Jackson, work downtown, and live off 85N.

I agree with Smokyboy. Although traffic is heavy in ATL, it will be more of an inconvenience for you to avoid the connector. Take I-85 N from the airport straight to SC. You will encounter traffic as you near I-20 on 85. Stay in the HOV lane or far left fast lane through Gwinnett county and you will be in great shape.

If it's raining, it will not matter which way you go, it will be awful.
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May 1st, 2004, 12:14 PM
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One more thing...

Also note that I-20 East through Dekalb county is heavy populated with less traffic lanes than the North/NE part of ATL.

It is often a worst commute.
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May 6th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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I thought I would report back about the Atlanta commute traffic. Either we hit a really good day or Atlanta just doesn't have the commute traffic that we have in the SF Bay area.

Our plane was ahead of schedule and landed at little after 5. By the time we got to baggage check our luggage was just coming up. A shuttle bus was just ready to leave as we walked out. The rental car place was fast and friendly and were on the road by 6:08 P.M. There was no traffic as we drove into downtown, there were a few slow downs as we drove thought the heart of Atlanta on I-85. We stayed in the HOV lane and a couple of times we slowed down and passed some of the other traffic, but even the other lanes of traffic were not all that bad. We had beautiful warm sunny weather.

We saw a lot of Police on I-85 so we kept to the speed limit in our bright RED rental car. We still made really good time and were at our destination just east of Greenville, SC by 8:30 P. M.

Thanks all!

Utahtea
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May 6th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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I love a happy ending.
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