Interstate 185 Georgia
Interstate 185 in Georgia is a 49-mile long freeway that links Columbus and Fort Benning with Interstate 85 at LaGrange. The route doubles as unsigned Georgia 411, with the southernmost ten miles comprising an urban route with six lane sections, and the remainder north across Harris and Troup Counties as a four-lane rural freeway.
Lindsey Creek Parkway extends south from I-185 as a freeway into Fort Benning, with three additional interchanges. The route is restricted to military traffic south of U.S. 27-280 & Georgia 520 (Victory Drive).
The Georgia State Transportation Board designated 39 miles of I-185, from Exit 12 northward to Interstate 85, as a “Scenic Byway” on October 18, 2007.1 Within Harris County in November 1997, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) named Interstate 185 as the “Chet Atkins Parkway”, in honor of the legendary country guitarist who lived in the area during his teenage years.
The north end of Interstate 185 includes provisions for an extension. Plans in 1995 involved constructing a five-mile bypass route for U.S. 27, between I-85 and eastern reaches of West Point Lake. $70 million in highway improvements scheduled for the LaGrange area in 1999 included building the bypass and redesigning the exchange between I-85 and 185 at a cost of $17.7-million.2 Those plans never moved forward however and by 2007, GDOT indicated that the LaGrange Bypass no longer had a projected date.3
Efforts from Albany business and government leaders in 2006 involved lobbying GDOT for an extension of Interstate 185 south from Fort Benning to Monticello, Florida by way of Albany. Benefits cited included the generation of jobs and economic growth for southwest Georgia in addition to traffic relief on Interstate 75. The suggested corridor utilized Georgia 520 (Corridor Z) south from Columbus to Albany, and U.S. 19 from there to Camilla, Pelham, Thomasville and Interstate 10, south of Monticello.4,5
Designated by AASHTO on June 23, 1969, Interstate 185 was constructed between September 1964 and February 1981.6,7 The route was formally extended southward from Georgia 22 to U.S. 27 by AASHTO on December 7, 1984 over what was previously signed as just Georgia 411.
$60-million in construction upgraded a 2.3-mile stretch of Interstate 185 north from U.S. 27-280 & Georgia 520 (Victory Drive) to St. Marys Road (Exit 3). The six lane expansion project ran from 2007 to July 2011.8 Freeway widening was underway in conjunction with a $17.6-million contract to replace the loop ramp from Victory Drive east to I-185 north with a two-lane directional ramp.9
North End – Fort Benning, GA
South End – LaGrange, GA
Mileage – 49.30
Cities – Columbus
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 185 overtook the original Lindsey Creek Bypass of Columbus. The freeway was built as a new alignment for Georgia State Route 1, the counterpart of U.S. 27 throughout Georgia.
An additional $6.8-million in enhancements at the southern terminus redesigned the directional cloverleaf interchange with aesthetic improvements including four towering monuments, 20 water fountains and twenty 50-foot high flag poles that are illuminated at night. The monuments represent the Infantry and Armor Schools at the Maneuver Center of Excellence located in Fort Benning. Statues adorning the tops of the 50 foot towers include two American eagles, the Follow Me Soldier and the Trooper on the Plains. A ribbon cutting ceremony for the completed project was held at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center on October 13, 2011.10 An aerial photograph of the improved interchange graced the cover of the 2013-14 Georgia Official Highway and Transportation Map.
North End – LaGrange, Georgia
South End / First Division Road – Fort Benning, Georgia
- “‘Scenic Byway’ created off I-185.” Times-Herald, The (Newnan, GA), October 21, 2007.
- “Will Bypass Lead LaGrange Down The Right Road? – City Officials Worry About Losing Business To Proposed U.S. 27 Bypass New Highway Would Also Affect Columbus Drivers Using I-85/I-185 Interchange.” Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (GA), September 5, 1999.
- “City mulls DOT plans.” LaGrange Daily News (GA), February 11, 2007.
- “How would you like to take I-185 from LaGrange to Florida?.” Times-Herald, The (Newnan, GA), November 30, 2006.
- “Albany leaders campaign for an interstate highway.” WALB 10 News, November 28, 2006.
- “Would Four Lanes Drive Away Rural Lifestyle?, Supporters of Widening Georgia 85 Say it would Promote Safety, Business, but some along Road are Skeptical.” Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, September 18, 1994.
- “Happy Birthday to the open road.” Gwinnett Daily Post (Lawrenceville, GA), June 25, 2006.
- “I-185 construction : After years, end is in sight.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), June 15, 2011.
- “DOT Awards $69M in Contracts for I-185 – Columbus and Fortson Firms Win Project Bids.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), June 16, 2007.
- “Fort Benning completes $6.8 million gateway project; ribbon cutting today.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), October 13, 2011.
Page updated November 9, 2015.