After seven years of construction and “profound delays” for car commuters, the $800-million remake of Interstate 285’s interchange with Ga. Highway 400 is almost fully baked—and in true Hotlanta fashion, it’s trying to make a questionable nickname stick.

You know Spaghetti Junction. The Grady Curve. The Cobb Cloverleaf. The downtown Connector. And just maybe the Brookwood Split.

Now it’s time to meet, uh… the “Perimeter Pretzel.”

That’s the official moniker a Perimeter Community Improvement Districts branding campaign has applied to the I-285/400 interchange, which was previously considered one of Georgia’s worst traffic bottlenecks. (Official slogan right now: “Hungry for a smoother commute? Knot much longer.”)  

The Top End Perimeter project near the King and Queen office high-rises does include twists and turns of 12 miles of new connecting lanes, less hectic exits, reconstructed bridges, and a new multi-use pathway that will connect to Buckhead’s PATH400 trail. Apart from repaving work and punch-list items, it’s all but finished, according to PCID. The agency points out that GoTo Foods, owner of pretzel maker Auntie Anne’s, is actually headquarter in Perimeter, making the pretzel moniker even more fitting.

The nickname could also be apt because it’s a mouthful, the interchange took a lot of dough to make, and let’s be honest, it’s cheesy AF.

Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

The project is part of GDOT’s “Transform 285/400” overhaul that began construction in 2017 and was supposed to have wrapped in summer 2020, until the scope was expanded to include new bridges on nearby connecting roads and other components. Now, the finished interchanged is expected to be only slightly smaller than Spaghetti Junction. Its goal is to open up a tangle of roadways used by more than 400,000 drivers per day—although it was originally designed to handle just 100,000.

The branding campaign also includes a “hyper-real sneak peek” video into how the Pretzel will function that’s sure to leave a salty taste in transit enthusiasts' mouths. 

Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

Perimeter Community Improvement Districts

This being an era of beefs, the video begins with Pretzel proponents dissing the problematic traffic “over by Spaghetti Junction” and extolling the virtues of “the addition of all those connecting lanes” in Sandy Springs.  

One narrator to the other: “I actually passed through the Pretzel on my commute this morning. The new lanes are a huge improvement,” she says cheerily. “No more left-hand turns. No more awkward merges. No more bottlenecks. I have to say—it just works… It’s exciting to hear there’s so much going on in the community.”

The male counterpart responds: “It really does feel like this place is getting the new and exciting chapter it deserves.”

H/T to Rough Draft Atlanta for sharing the day-brightening Pretzel video in a recent newsletter. The same publication ran a reader poll in 2019 with other suggestions—“GDOT Knot,” “Traffic Twister,” and “Rush-Hour Ramen”—that saw the Perimeter Pretzel moniker come out on top.

Any other suggestions for what metro Atlantans might call this twisty thing?


Follow us on social media: 

Twitter / Facebook/and now: Instagram  

• Sandy Springs news, discussion (Urbanize Atlanta)