Interstate 516 forms an urban loop encircling the city of Savannah from area around Hunter Army Airfield north to Garden City. Known as W.F. Lynes Parkway, the freeway doubles as SR 21, unsigned SR 421, and portions of U.S. 17 , U.S. 80 and SR 25. The south end ties into DeRenne Avenue, a congested commercial boulevard leading east into Midtown Savannah. Northern reaches of the freeway serve the Port of Savannah via connections with SR 26 Connector and SR 25.
Project DeRenne addresses congestion issues where Interstate 516 / Lynes Parkway transitions to DeRenne Avenue at Montgomery Street. Initiated by the city of Savannah in 2008, and currently under environmental review (until
2016 2019), the project involves extending the freeway end to a new interchange with Montgomery Street, expanding Hampstead Avenue east from there into a multi-lane boulevard, and reconfiguring DeRenne Avenue with access management, intersection improvements and new raised medians. Construction was previously estimated to start in 2019.
The initial portion of Lynes Parkway built was the 1967 extension of DeRenne Avenue west from Montgomery Street to ACL Boulevard. Work on the freeway progressed north from there to Interstate 16 by 1968 and Augusta Avenue by 1970. Completion of the route followed in 1983.1
Lynes Parkway was originally signed as SR Loop 26 (SR 26 is the state route designation for U.S. 80 through Savannah). SR 26 Loop was replaced with an extension of SR 21 south from Garden City to Savannah in 1979. Interstate designation for the route was approved by AASHTO on December 7, 1984. U.S. 17 and 80 then shifted from their shared alignment along Bay Street and the couplet of Broad / Montgomery Streets to overlap with Lynes Parkway in 1985. U.S. 17 was again realigned in 1988, shifting from the alignment north from I-16 through Garden City and Port Wentworth to overlap with I-16 east to the Talmadge Bridge.
The 1999 Georgia Department of Transportation exit renumbering project assigned exit numbers along Interstate 516 for the first time. The Interstate is signed east-west, with exit numbers increasing from the southeast.