Interstate 185 Georgia

Interstate 185 Georgia
History
North End
South End

Overview

Interstate 185 in Georgia is a 49-mile long freeway that links Columbus and Fort Benning with I-85 at LaGrange. The route doubles as unsigned Georgia State Route 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/SR 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 I-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 SR 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

History

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 SR 22 to U.S. 27 by AASHTO on December 7, 1984 over what was previously signed as just State Route 411.

$60-million in construction upgraded a 2.3-mile stretch of Interstate 185 north from U.S. 27-280/SR 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

Route Information

  • North End – Fort Benning, GA

  • South End – LaGrange, GA

  • Mileage – 49.30

  • Cities – Columbus

  • JunctionsI-85

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

Columbus, GA - 1969 Map
The initial portion of what would be come I-185 ran north from U.S. 27/280 to Buena Vista Road (former SR 357) by 1969.

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.

West Georgia - 1979 Map

The final segment of I-185 under construction between Exit 14 (Smith Road) and Exit 42 (U.S. 27). 1979 Georgia Official Highway Map

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.

Highway Guides

North End I-85 – LaGrange, Georgia

I-185 North at I-85

I-185 north at I-85 - LaGrange, GA

The first guide sign for Interstate 85 appears along I-185 north beyond Long Cane Creek. 09/28/10

I-185 north at I-85 - LaGrange, GA

One mile south of Interstate 85 on I-185 northbound. The city of Atlanta is 55 miles to the northeast while the capital of Alabama is a 95 mile drive to the southwest. 09/28/10

I-185 north at I-85 - LaGrange, GA

SR 109 (Greenville Road) spans I-185 one half mile ahead of the separation of traffic for Interstate 85. An empty sign bracket to the left possibly alludes to the unconstructed LaGrange bypass for U.S. 27. 09/28/10

I-185 north at I-85 - LaGrange, GA

Chevrons are painted both over the wide inside shoulder and along the southbound connection for Interstate 85. A stub follows for the unbuilt LaGrange bypass. LaGrange, the seat of Troup County, lies just to the west of I-85 via SR 109. 09/28/10

I-185 north at I-85 - 2003

A pair of end shields for Interstate 185 were posted along the ramp to I-85 northbound. These were removed by 2008. Photo by Chris Patriarca (04/06/03).

I-85 South at I-185

I-85 south at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

Interstate 85 spans Beech Creek ahead of a weigh station on the two mile approach to Exit 21 for I-185 south. 12/31/12

I-85 south at I-185 - 1995

This guide sign for Exit 5 and I-185 south was replaced during the 1999 statewide exit renumbering project. 04/95

I-85 south at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

A sweeping off-ramp (Exit 21) departs one mile south of the weigh station for the rural drive across southern Troup County to Harris County and Columbus. 12/31/12

I-85 south at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

A third southbound lane opens along I-85 south at the Hines Rover overpass for I-185 (Exit 21). A set of brackets was installed for the unbuilt ramp to the LaGrange bypass (U.S. 27). U.S. 27 travels along a four-lane corridor from north of LaGrange to Franklin, Carrollton and Rome. 12/31/12

I-85 south at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

Exit 21 leaves I-85 south for Interstate 185. The freeway reaches the Columbus city limits in 35 miles. 12/31/12

I-85 North at I-185

I-85 north at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

The two mile sign for Interstate 185 precedes the diamond interchange (Exit 18) with SR 109 on the east side of LaGrange. 04/13/12

I-85 north at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

Exit 18 departs from I-85 north, 1.25 miles ahead of Exit 21 for Interstate 185. The I-185 exit number is derived from the southbound off-ramp.
SR 109 connects La Grange with the Meriwether County seat of Greenville. There is no access to I-185 from the state route. 04/13/12

I-85 north at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

The entrance ramp from SR 109 joins I-85 north just ahead of Exit 21 to Interstate 185. I-185 serves Phenix City, Alabama via a connection from U.S. 80 (J.R. Allen Parkway), 40 miles to the south. 04/13/12

I-85 north at I-185 - LaGrange, GA

Northbound I-85 reaches the off-ramp (Exit 21) to I-185 south. The freeway leading south to Exit 14 is designated a Scenic Byway as it traverses low rolling hills and Pine Mountain. 04/13/12

South End US 27 US 280 / First Division Road – Fort Benning, Georgia

I-185 South at US 27 US 280

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

The south end of Interstate 185 partitions traffic at a directional cloverleaf interchange (Exits 1A/B) for U.S. 27-280/SR 520 (Victory Drive) and Lindsey Creek Parkway south into Fort Benning. 01/12/19

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

U.S. 27/280 overlap 17 miles southeast from Columbus to Cusseta. U.S. 27 branches south from there to Cuthbert, Bainbridge and Tallahassee, Florida. U.S. 280 continues south to Richland and east to Americus while SR 520 travels southeast to Dawson and Albany. 01/12/19

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

Exit 1B departs I-185 south for U.S. 27 north to Downtown Columbus and U.S. 280 west to U.S. 431 and Phenix City. 01/12/19

I-185 south at Fort Benning, GA

An end shield for I-185 appears at the overpass linking with U.S. 27-280/SR 520 east. Lindsey Creek Parkway extends south to the gate for Fort Benning. 01/12/19

US 27 North US 280 West at I-185

US 27-280/SR 520 west at I-185 - Columbus, GA

U.S. 27 north / U.S. 280-SR 520 west follow a controlled access route through Fort Benning to Interstate 185 in the city of Columbus. 01/12/19

US 27-280/SR 520 west at I-185 - Columbus, GA

A parclo interchange joins U.S. 27-280/SR 520 with Cussetea Road and Central Avenue just east of the exchange with Interstate 185. 01/12/19

US 27-280/SR 520 west at I-185 - Columbus, GA

A collector distributor roadway partitions traffic from U.S. 27-280/SR 520 west from Central Avenue to the cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 185. 01/12/19

US 27-280/SR 520 west at I-185 - Columbus, GA

Beyond the ramps for Interstate 185 north and Lindsey Creek Parkway south, U.S. 27-280/SR 520 (Victory Drive) transitions into a six-lane commercial arterial. 01/12/19

I-185 Lindsey Creek Parkway – North at US 27 US 280

I-185 north at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

Lindsey Creek Parkway navigates through an S-curve from Fort Benning to the off-ramp for U.S. 27-280/SR 520 east to Cusseta and Albany. 01/12/19

I-185 north at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

Interstate 185 commences from Lindsey Creek Parkway at Exit 1A. 01/12/19

I-185 north at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

A begin shield for Interstate 185 stands where the former loop ramp from U.S. 27-280/SR 520 east merged onto the freeway northbound. 01/12/19

I-185 north at US 27-280/SR 520 - Columbus, GA

Exit 1B loops onto U.S. 27 north / U.S. 280-SR 280 (Victory Drive) west to Downtown Columbus and Phoenix City. 01/12/19

I-185 South End Throwback

I-185 South at US 27 US 280

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - 1999

Cardinal direction based suffixes at the south end of I-185 where changed as part of the statewide Interstate exit renumbering program started in 1999. 10/15/99

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - 2003
I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - 2003

A pair of end shields were previously posted at the U.S. 27-280/SR 520 (Victory Drive) overpass. 08/22/03

I-185 south at US 27-280/SR 520 - 2003

This ground level sign was posted for the original loop ramp (Exit 1A) onto U.S. 27 south / U.S. 280-SR 520 east. Photo taken 08/22/03.

I-185 North at US 27 US 280

I-185 north at US 27-280/SR 520 - 1999

A pair of begin shields were posted at the Lindsey Creek Parkway transition to Interstate 185 below Victory Drive. These were removed during work to add the new ramp from SR 520 east to I-185 north. 10/15/99

US 27 South US 280 East at I-185

US 27-280/SR 520 east at I-185 - 2003

Former guide sign posted along U.S. 27 south / U.S. 280 (Victory Drive) east, one half mile ahead of the previous full cloverleaf interchange with Interstate 185. 08/22/03

US 27-280/SR 520 east at I-185 - 1999

This sign bridge was removed during work to construct the new ramp for I-185 north from Victory Drive eastbound. A span wire supported assembly precedes the two lane ramp departure for both the freeway north and Lindsey Creek Parkway south into Fort Benning. 10/15/99

US 27 North US 280 West at I-185

US 27-280/SR 520 west at I-185 - 2003

This sign bridge was removed by 2007 as the ramps along the east side of I-185 were extended to Victory Drive. 08/22/03

Sources:

  1. “‘Scenic Byway’ created off I-185.” Times-Herald, The (Newnan, GA), October 21, 2007.
  2. “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.
  3. “City mulls DOT plans.” LaGrange Daily News (GA), February 11, 2007.
  4. “How would you like to take I-185 from LaGrange to Florida?.” Times-Herald, The (Newnan, GA), November 30, 2006.
  5. “Albany leaders campaign for an interstate highway.” WALB 10 News, November 28, 2006.
  6. “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.
  7. “Happy Birthday to the open road.” Gwinnett Daily Post (Lawrenceville, GA), June 25, 2006.
  8. “I-185 construction : After years, end is in sight.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), June 15, 2011.
  9. “DOT Awards $69M in Contracts for I-185 – Columbus and Fortson Firms Win Project Bids.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), June 16, 2007.
  10. “Fort Benning completes $6.8 million gateway project; ribbon cutting today.” Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, GA), October 13, 2011.

Page updated May 21, 2020.