Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Simple Solution to Make Georgia's Roads A Lot Better

One of the issues I am hearing about these days is that GDOT is contracting out more and more of their operations to private firms.  This has raised costs and reduced maintenance levels significantly, especially in regards to road striping and guardrail repairs.  Because the state has worked to tighten its belt to reduce the overhead costs, it has resulted in the loss of equipment as well as skilled, valuable employees that knew their craft.  If GDOT has reached a point where they can barely man a maintenance crew, why not just consolidate with the local agencies for this purpose?  Local agencies are having similar issues with this, but if the remaining employees are combined and equipment does not have to be duplicated for the same roads in the same county, would that not help?  On top of this, if GDOT does this it can lead to a tradeoff with the local governments that would be mutually beneficial to both parties and lead to much, much better roads.  This plan is far less involved than any other plan in that it makes no ownership changes while swapping road maintenance to play off each agency's strengths.

More needs to be done with less.  In this image, the bridge approach lacks any warning signage (object markers), and the guardrails are both outdated and dangerous.  Perhaps if the counties were boosted with state-aid funds and better oversight of safety improvements, this could become far less common on both county and state roads.


This plan involves four primary steps:

  1. Consolidate road maintenance with counties, putting counties in charge of non-technical routine maintenance on all state routes, including within cities.
  2. Pay per-mile payments to the counties for this purpose, but keep back a retainer of around 25% of those payments to be used by the state on county-maintained roads for state-supervised local traffic control and safety improvements
  3. Place all county roads and major city streets under supervision of GDOT traffic operations for the purpose of planning and overseeing traffic control with the state providing direct funding and/or furnishing materials for traffic signs and pavement markings on federal-aid eligible and non-federal aid minor collector roads.
  4. Decentralize GDOT's traffic operations division into 7-12 separate units.  These units could also become a separate agency from GDOT, if needed.
Consolidating Road Maintenance: Greater Reliance On the Counties

Most counties in Georgia have what they need to maintain roads if that work does not involve a traffic engineer.  They are typically very good about paving roads, repairing bridges, patching potholes, and keeping the weeds down in the summertime.  While some do rely on contractors themselves, this would be less necessary if more resources were available to them.  Still, a lot is expected of counties with little return when state-aid is only 20% of state funding.  Inversely, with 80% of the funding, GDOT does not have enough road responsibility.  Why is the state not tapping a valuable resource when counties are all duplicating services with the state?  While most counties are not structured to provide technical expertise to the state's road system, they can certainly do many other activities on behalf of the state such as pothole patching, mowing/brush cutting, winter maintenance, and a host of other road repairs as long as those decisions do not involve engineering judgment.  However, since most counties lack an engineer, and those that do have too many other responsibilities, it is not best for counties to be providing full road maintenance services: not on state contracted roads nor their own roads.  However, what the state isn't able to do the counties can.  Guardrail repairs?  The state calls up the county to fix a guardrail.  Striping crew?  The state can loan equipment on a per diem basis to each county unless the county can afford to have their own in-house.  Signs or signals are down?  The county can get to them faster than the state can, although in this case some coordination with the state is needed.  This also removes the complication of determining the responsible party where a state and local road intersect.

The state is paying too much for striping while local governments are still struggling to get striping on farm-to-market roads like this one.

Even if every county in the state was not participating, those counties with higher populations are certainly suited to take over these duties from the state.  Cobb, Gwinnett, Bibb, Richmond, Chatham, and Muscogee are all large enough that their public works departments could probably independently handle state road maintenance even if the state provided no oversight or assistance.  However, most will not be able to participate in such a program without the state taking a larger technical role.  

Counties like Cobb are better capitalized to take over road maintenance from GDOT with little state assistance, but this is not so much the case in other counties with smaller tax bases like Walker below that need a more direct approach to technical matters.  However, both would benefit equally.

Consolidating road maintenance in this way also has an added benefit of restoring county crews in Metro Atlanta counties where the county road department was reduced or abolished to divide the counties into cities.  Perhaps if counties like Fulton were contracted to maintain state roads, they could also form agreements with certain cities to provide routine maintenance services on certain roads or in certain lower population cities such as Chattahoochee Hills.  Otherwise, the cities could provide these same services on behalf of the counties in these places, although cities should have to have a population of at least 40,000 or more before they should be permitted to contract maintenance of state routes on behalf of the county.  Very small cities are not equipped for that purpose: especially if there are freeways or interstates running through the city.

Per-Mile Payments to Counties

Counties would see a huge boost in available resources if they were paid per-mile to maintain state-owned roads passing through their borders.  This would pay for them to do far more with less.  GDOT would simply expand the per-mile payments they already provide to the cities to all of the counties and transfer existing state employees to work for the county government with previous agreements on wages/benefits retained, but attrition put into place so that future employees work for the county government.  Ultimately, all roads across the state would be maintained by the local government.  

Obviously some equipment will need to be shared among the smaller, less populated counties.  This should be kept in the district barns and used on loan per diem for each county if needed, but larger counties should provide these services in-house.

However, traffic control and safety improvements have proven to be a weak point for many counties across the state as they have relied entirely on state-aid or federal-aid for any significant repairs to inadequate or aging traffic control devices while they have nobody in-house with the training necessarily to properly inspect traffic control duties.  When guardrails go decades without repair and signs do not get properly engineered, it demonstrates that a larger agency needs to be overseeing this work.  This leads to the next point:

GDOT Supervision of Local Traffic Control and Safety Improvements

While most roadway functions would be consolidated to the county level, one exception is needed.  This involves the retainer of a portion of state-aid payments enough to pay for an expanded GDOT traffic operations unit or regional traffic operations division.  It should also be enough for the state to pool resources sufficiently to at least partially furnish traffic control devices and safety improvements to the counties above what is available in off-system safety grants.  Many devices are too costly not to be purchased in bulk, and this is needed to improve availability and purchasing power that the local governments lack.  This means that out of whatever per-mile payments are decided that 10-20% should be withheld and distributed directly to traffic operations to work on behalf of the counties.  If the roadway falls within a city and the payment otherwise goes to the city, this withholding should also come from the city as well so that the state can provide that same service to each city.

Let us drill it down here.  Let's say that the state payment is approximately $8,800 per mile or $192 million (this is how much the state spent per mile per the GDOT fact book).  This constitutes 19% of the state's budget.  Of this, the state retains 25% or $2,200 so the final payment is $6,600 per mile.  This gives the state a budget of $39.6 million dedicated just for traffic control and safety improvements to be used on both state and major local roads (the state currently spends $26,000,000 on state routes).  If operations costs of 30% are deducted to finance traffic operations, each county would receive on average $174,339 a year to use on both state and locally-owned collectors and arterials.  It is an increase in budget, but it is offset by the consolidation of road maintenance between the state and counties.  This means that, on average, each county receives $88,050 per year for signs, signals, pavement markings, and guardrails when most rural counties are only able to budget for much less.  In addition, the joint purchasing will make those dollars stretch much further, and with payments based on road mileage it will mean that rural counties will be able to budget for roadways they were previously unable to afford while urban counties can supplement existing budgets.

Let us look at Fannin County in this example:

  • Fannin County has 64.96 miles of state routes (2012 statistics)
  • Thus, Fannin County would receive a payment of $428,736 to maintain state routes
  • The traffic control retainer is $142,912
  • 30% overhead costs take out $42,874
  • This leaves $100,038 for traffic control and safety improvements with $37,824 for state routes and $62,214 for county-maintained collectors and arterials, all which could be jointly purchased.
Let us next look at Cherokee County:

  • Cherokee County has 133.27 miles of state routes (2012 statistics)
  • Thus, Cherokee County would receive a payment of $1,172,776 to maintain state routes
  • The traffic control retainer is $293,194
  • 30% overhead costs take out $87,958
  • This leaves $205,236 for traffic control and safety improvements with $87,513 for state routes and $117,723 for county-maintained collectors and arterials, all of which could be jointly purchased
  • The county also maintains its own sign shop, which could afford upgrades under this approach

The expansion of traffic control would be two-fold: oversight would be for all county-maintained roads, but state funding would not be sufficient to cover all roads.  The traffic operations office would simply oversee and direct the placement and design of traffic control devices based on whatever funds are available, but they would not be permitted to set any traffic laws or ordinances since they are not the legal owners of county-maintained roads.  This means that they cannot determine the appropriate speed limit, post truck restrictions, or post any traffic laws unless specifically permitted to do so.  Likewise, if a local agency creates or alters a traffic law, this must be posted by the traffic control division.

What the state would provide in terms of funding would be equivalent to a farm-to-market system.  In order for a roadway to receive state payments or funding, the roadway must be a designated arterial or collector and not be part of the state highway system.  This means that the state would fund this work on only about 30% of the state's roads leaving local governments the primary responsibility to fund traffic control devices and safety improvements on all remaining local roads.  GDOT or a regional traffic operations unit would simply oversee all work that was done to make sure that it complies with applicable federal standards, and counties would have more flexibility on materials as long as they complied with federal standards.  

It is not an accident that state-aid payments should focus on these farm-to-market level roads.  If GDOT's resources are spread too thin on inconsequential roads, it is less likely that the county roads that are equivalent in functional classification to state routes will receive adequate signage, pavement markings, and maintenance.  A significant need for better guide signs is an example of such as well as a need to focus pavement markings on the most widely traveled roads.  If the state can focus resources on these roads, they will be overall better maintained than they would be if treated as just "local" roads.  In addition, this limited role will help address the issue of counties like Fulton where city governments maintain every non-state road at present.  If Fulton were to be restored to the road maintenance business, it would make sense to have those state payments help cover county maintenance on the more widely traveled city streets.  

A need for significantly better signage, especially guide, is needed on both state and local roads.  This has simply not been addressed through the current system where this responsibility is duplicated between the state and county and too centralized on a state level.  This guide sign was added into this scene along Old U.S. 278/Atlanta Hwy in Polk County near Rockmart where it junctions with Vinson Mountain Road.  GDOT still recognizes this portion of Old U.S. 278 as a minor arterial, but it not maintained to anything near state highway standards.  Vinson Mountain Road is a major collector road that was once considered for a state route upgrade.

Of special note is that some instances exist where a collector/arterial falls on an unpaved road, substandard road, or closed road.  In those cases, the county should be permitted to swap mileage on a case-by-case basis with an equivalent local road that is deemed important enough by GDOT.  These roads are indicated in grey or white on the state's functional classification map such as Newport Road in Fannin County or Old U.S. 441 in Rabun County through Lakemont.  Both counties have unpaved or substandard collector roads that could be swapped.  

Since counties would be in charge of maintaining state routes, they will need the equipment to do this.  While the state might provide funding and oversight for traffic control, it will be up to the counties to do the work for them.  This means that counties will need to work under state supervision for state roads, accept work orders from the state when state funding is provided for local roads, and all traffic control proposals for local roads, especially those using state funding, will need to be approved by the traffic operations office before signage is installed.  Counties (and any participating cities) will need to purchase only from state-approved vendors, and in-house work will be subject to inspection from traffic operations: especially if it is state-funded.  In fact, it would be best for this process to be decentralized as a means of reducing the dependence on prison labor for sign production and to assure improved uniformity.  This will be the condition that counties will have to follow in order to be eligible for state-aid payments so that they have greater responsibilities.  While counties are not technically required to follow these standards due to home rule laws, a failure to meet these duties will necessarily result in the state cutting payments to the counties or suspending state-aid road projects until required corrections are made and/or conditions met.  Since the counties will have the resources and funding to do this work correctly, they will no longer have an excuse.

Decentralization of GDOT Traffic Operations

If GDOT is to take on a lot more roads for traffic control purposes, the last thing that is needed is for this duty to be operated out of Atlanta and not distributed to areas closer to the roads themselves.  For that reason, traffic operations should be fully decentralized one of three ways:

  1. To Each GDOT District
    • This places traffic control duties within Districts 1-7 with a separate office in each district operating independent of each other.
    • Doing this allows a more creative and independent approach to traffic control that suits the needs of each region.
  2. To Special GDOT Districts
    • This places traffic operations duties into 12 districts based on the boundaries of the present-day regional planning districts similar to how GDOT has separate construction districts that do not line up with the current GDOT districts.
  3. To Independent Regional Districts (Preferred)
    • This gets GDOT out of the traffic control business and instead assigns this duty to 12 completely independent districts based on regional planning districts funded by state-aid funds
    • These traffic operations districts would be headed by a PTOE and staff that would oversee traffic control duties on state and local roads only within that assigned region, and they would be required to follow state standards along state highways while developing their own standards on local roads they supervise.
This map was used on the post about regional roads, but it is a good rule of thumb on how GDOT's own districts should be carved up even if just for the purpose of traffic control.  What Catoosa County needs may be far different from what Glynn County needs, but on a very local level it is not working well while the state responsibility is spread very thin over such a large state with over 10 million residents.

It is important to note on the former option that GDOT actually does need to create more districts.  The current seven districts are too few to accommodate the state's population and have not changed in many years.  At least two new districts are needed: one that is formed out of District 1 and 6 and the other out of District 2 and 3.  Preferably the entire district operation needs to be reformed so that the new districts line up perfectly with the state's regional planning districts.  This will better allow GDOT to coordinate with local governments on matter such as transportation planning and maintenance.  


The solution here is laid out in four simple steps: the state contracts with the counties for road maintenance, pays the counties per-mile to do state-aid work, retains a portion of funding to pool resources and provide oversight of local traffic control, and then the state decentralizes traffic operations in order to provide a more locally-intensive approach without destroying the benefits of consolidation.

By playing on each other's strengths and allowing the maintenance gap between state and county routes to be significantly narrowed, perhaps then the state can focus more on realigning the state route system to better line up with function and need.  A large reason that so many politically-motivated useless state routes remain when far more important roads remain local is that there is an unspoken consensus the counties won't do as good of a job, but in this way this differences would become negligible.  If functional routes could be signed and maintained as well as a state route, it would improve navigation and allow local governments to be less concerned about the potential consequences of a mileage transfer.  They will primarily be in charge of maintenance anyway, and the state will be overseeing traffic control either way, so what is now both a funding and maintenance issue simply turns into a funding issue.  

This is a win-win for both sides: GDOT saves money and relies less on contractors to maintain state roads while the local governments receive a huge boost in funding just to maintain a few more roads while gaining access to proper engineering oversight on thousands of miles of local roads, many previously not supervised by any engineer.  Taxes do not have to be raised, and more is able to be done with less without making any changes to state or local government.  The question is, will GDOT or the state legislature be open to such an idea?  Past experience says no, but perhaps cooler heads will prevail when the solution in many ways preserves status quo while having both state and local agencies play to each other's strengths.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Northwest Georgia: A Plan to Fix Poor Regional Connectivity

It is not lost on GDOT that Northwest Georgia is one of the most difficult to traverse corners of the state, especially for east-west travel.  Only about four routes cut across the region east-west north or Adairsville: SR 140, SR 136, SR 2, and SR 146.  SR 136 in particular is an indirect route, and SR 2 (Battlefield Parkway) is a congested arterial that does not actually connect to anything west of Fort Oglethorpe.  The problem has been that little if any investment has been done to improve the highway system in the area since the 1980's.  Many state highways in the area do not really go anywhere, but they exist, because they attempt to compensate for the lack of any direct link.  Geology has much to do with this, but it is not the only issue.

The convoluted route of GA 136 is the only highway in Northwest Georgia to directly link I-75 to I-59.  It includes many curves and steep grades, and it is inadequate for east-west travel resulting in the geographic isolation of LaFayette and Trenton.  A series of proposals here are designed to fix that.  Here, GA 136 overlaps part of GA 151 in order to get around Taylors Ridge, which is visible here in the background (Photo from 2004).

While Lookout Mountain, Taylors Ridge, and Rocky Face Mountain all pose significant barriers, roads in the valley also connect very poorly.  Since the state has not taken over as many of these roads as they have in other parts of the state, this meant that the remaining county roads were just paved randomly from the wagon trails they started out as.  This means that to follow them to any destination requires many turns, and these turns do not have any destination signs or route signs.  In fact, the only route built in the region that did anything to improve east-west connectivity was the construction of Battlefield Parkway west of Ft. Oglethorpe, but it ends in a strange place in Chattanooga Valley instead of connecting to a logical destination.  Perhaps there was a long-range plan to extend it across Lookout Mountain, but that plan never materialized.  The place where it would cross Lookout Mountain includes the highest ridges of the plateau making it very difficult to build a multi-lane road.

It's not so simple linking these cities, and an oddly configured collection of state routes attempts to do so (poorly).  GA 189 (Scenic Hwy) southbound at GA 157 (McFarland Rd), Lookout Mountain.  Photo is from 2004.

To be fair, GDOT has proposed an east-west corridor stretching roughly from Dalton to Trenton, but this corridor at present remains unfunded and long-range.  It is not even clear exactly where this road would go, but if built it would provide a better link to LaFayette and Trenton than any road that currently exists.  However, its location is not close enough to any city in the region to provide a direct benefit.  In its design, it faces tremendous issues traversing the steep ridges, and furthermore it only provides one option, when many smaller fixes would provide a far more effective solution in the short-term with long-term solutions falling into place over time.  These smaller fixes include constructing pieces of roads that run between 1-4 miles in length: each designed to bridge missing links that would improve east-west connectivity.  The list below describes each solution and its need, and maps will be provided for each proposal (except the first, which is described in another post).

The proposed projects include:

  1. Adairsville to Cloudland: U.S. 72 Relocation and Upgrades
  2. Dalton to LaFayette: Rocky Face and Taylors Ridge Tunnels
  3. Trenton to Flintstone: Lookout Mountain Connection
  4. Flintstone to Ringgold: Chickamauga Connector
  5. Rock Spring to Ringgold: Kay Conley Road Extension
  6. Chickamauga to Ringgold: Twin Cedars Road Extension

Adairsville to Cloudland: US 72 Relocation and Upgrades

This project, described in another post, would involve the upgrade of SR 48 and part of U.S. 27 to a limited access road - initially constructed as a "super two".  It would be designated initially as part of a relocated SR 48 south and west of Summerville with a long-term proposal to replace the existing route with a new major interstate connecting Huntsville to North Georgia.  It would also mean that SR 48 and 140 west of I-75 would be reassigned as part of U.S. 72 joined with an overlap with U.S. 27.  The interstate proposal is forthcoming, but the existing proposal can be found here.

The Cloudland-Menlo By-Pass places GA 48 (future U.S. 72) on new location from the Alabama state line to east of Menlo.  It would be designed as limited access.  However, it would be two lanes on a four lane ROW with truck lanes and include connector roads in lieu of ramps at overpasses with future interchanges except on the eastern end where the road rejoins a relocated GA 48.  It would become full freeway only after a plan to construct an interstate develops.

The Summerville By-Pass would be constructed as a full freeway, but as a two-lane road with passing lanes on a four-lane ROW.  Bridges would be two lanes also.  A temporary end to the west would be at Filter Plant Road where traffic would return to the existing highway.  Constructing this by-pass is of greater importance than a by-pass for U.S. 27.

Between the Menlo and Summerville By-Passes, two options for routes may be considered based on cost and impact.

Dalton to LaFayette: Rocky Face and Taylors Ridge Tunnels

This is one of those "off the radar" projects, but is desperately needed.  At present, LaFayette is suffering economically.  Much of that is due to the fact it has very poor access to major highways.  This proposal constructs a new road from GA 136 east of Villanow to I-75 at the South Dalton By-Pass.  This new road is not very long (3.7 miles), but it cuts through high ridges meaning that it will require construction of the the state's first highway tunnels through mountains.  This pair of tunnels, each about 0.6 miles long, will cut through Rocky Face and Mill Creek mountains with a hill cut in the middle ridge north of Redwine Cove.  They would need to be three lanes wide and be designed with a right of way to accommodate an additional tunnel for each ridge in the future.  The road on each side of the tunnels would be a limited access two-lane road with passing lanes and would be designated as an extension/relocation of GA 52 with 52 moved to the Southeast Dalton By-Pass.  Existing GA 52 along Walnut Avenue would become an extended GA 286.  The new tunnels and roadway could carry a toll to manage the cost of constructing and maintaining these tunnels, but the toll should be only to pay down the cost of construction and be no more than $1 each way.

Existing GA 136 and existing GA 3 Connector at I-75.  Two tunnels would remove the barrier of two steep mountains

The current highly convoluted route to Dalton.  The winding county roads shown in blue is the preferred local route, while the state sends traffic on a confusing 18 mile course.  Going south on GA 136 is over 30 miles to Dalton, although using Carbondale Road shortens it to 27 miles.  Even the gray route is routing traffic onto local streets.  The proposed route would cut off 4-5 miles with higher speeds and fewer red lights.

Another tunnel to the west would cut through Taylors Ridge.  It would be designed with similar characteristics (0.6 miles long) and would be designed to remove the mountain crossing and dogleg on GA 136 along 151 shown in the first image.  Unlike the other tunnels, this one would not be tolled and part of the existing GA 136 would be removed while part would remain to provide a road to an overlook with a possible trail and lookout tower.

The formidable Taylors Ridge isn't such a barrier with a tunnel.  Note the winding GA 136 angling across the ridge to the north of the projected tunnel.

These tunnels would provide a nearly straight shot from Dalton to LaFayette making it much faster and easier to travel between the two cities.  Traffic today looking to go to Dalton must travel miles out of their way with options including GA 201 via a congested part of U.S. 41, a convoluted collection of county roads from Villanow to the west end of GA 52 in Dalton, or south along GA 136 through Resaca.  The tunnels would fix this problem, and GA 201 could revert to a local road given that its only purpose is to route traffic around Rocky Face Mountain.

Trenton to Flintstone: Lookout Mountain Connection

In the 1940's, GA 2 was finally completed across Lookout Mountain west from Dalton and LaFayette connecting the isolated Dade County to the rest of Georgia.  Today, that road is GA 136.  While GA 136 does provide a connection to the area, the road is still far too out-of-the-way, steep, and outmoded to provide any real benefit to Trenton.  Lightly traveled, the road is very mountainous and unsuitable as the only state route into the county from the rest of the state.  

As part of the proposed east-west highway, GDOT has proposed a Lookout Mountain crossover in precisely the location from Burkhalter Gap Road in Dade County to Nickajack Road in Walker County, but as part of such a large project it has not even been on the radar.  Why wait for that?  Why not just build this missing piece of road between those two roads NOW?  As a two lane road with passing lanes and plateau terrain, it would not be prohibitively expensive to build that link while waiting for the rest.  When completed, this would include a state takeover of the road along with Nickajack and Burkhalter Gap Roads.  This new route would become an extension of existing GA 2 bringing the highway back into the county for the first time since the 1940's.

Here is a map detailing what needs to be done...extend GA 2 from its western terminus with GA 193 in Flintstone/Chattanooga Valley westward.  This mostly uses existing roads (with upgrades), but it also involves the construction of a mere 2.33 miles of road across the top of Lookout Mountain linking Burkhalter Gap Road to Nickajack Road.  While not suitable as a true highway corridor, it at least provides a direct link across the plateau between GA 136 and I-24 in Chattanooga that is desperately needed.  Unfortunately, the construction of this road would mean that GA 189 south of GA 157 would likely need to be decommissioned.

Obviously some upgrades will be needed along the existing county roads.  Neither county has done a great job maintaining those roads, so some things will need to be fixed.  One of those is that every guardrail will need to be replaced with new ones installed, and new signage will be needed.  In addition, a couple intersection improvements will be needed including the intersections with GA 136, GA 189, GA 157, and GA 193.  With GA 193 specifically, this would include an additional 1.0 mile extension/relocation of GA 341 to meet Nickajack Road.

The 2005 GDOT functional classification map gives a strong hint that the state sees another mountain crossing as important.  The straight purple line on the right is a road that does not exist.  Green means "minor arterial", and this designation is applied here to county-maintained Burkhalter Gap Road and Piney Road from Trenton to GA 189.  

One drawback to this plan is that this route adds 11 miles to the state highway system.  Those miles will have to come from somewhere unless the mileage cap is lifted/indexed to system growth.  This most likely means that GA 189, a state highway providing scenic views from the west side of Lookout Mountain, will need to go to the county south of its junction with GA 157.  GA 157 would be realistically a better candidate, but it is a much longer highway that travels the length of the mountain while GA 189 ends at a location far from anything else.  Burkhalter Gap and Piney Roads in Dade County are also both costlier to maintain than GA 189 meaning that even though Dade would get stuck with more miles, the cost of maintenance would be less.

One more consideration of this plan is to relocate U.S. 76 onto this route.  U.S. 76 at present ends unceremoniously into U.S. 72 in Chattanooga and overlaps U.S. 41 the whole way there.  By creating this connection, U.S. 76 can follow a more useful route west to end at I-59 in Trenton.  GA 2 is proposed to follow that route also, and it would be a state overlap under the current system.  However, it is hoped that state overlaps can be removed with this road becoming just U.S. 76.

Flintstone to Ringgold: Chickamauga Connector

The proposed tie-in of GA 341 into Nickajack Road is not an accident.  This is because one of the holes in connectivity is a lack of east-west roads south of Battlefield Parkway.  GA 341 is mostly east-west in this area, but then it turns south through Chickamauga to end in the middle of McLemore Cove on an out-of-the way course.  While Chickamauga is signed from U.S. 27, the route to reach it is presently both extremely convoluted and poorly signed.  This means that in the north side of Chickamauga, a new four-lane road needs to be constructed tying GA 341 to Red Belt Road further east.

This new road will be tricky to design, because it is in a built-up area.  Fortunately, a partially-abandoned street just north of GA 341 (Parrish Circle) makes a logical route while there is also room to squeeze the road south of the current junction of Lee and Gordon Mill Road into Red Belt Road via a new bridge over Chickamauga Creek.  This connector will eliminate the highly confusing doglegs in the area, and it will allow traffic from Chattanooga Valley to reach Catoosa County without making any turns or using Battlefield Parkway.  Roads east of there are not direct, but they involve simple turns that, if signed properly, will guide traffic from Ringgold to Chickamauga if this connector is built.  

When completed, this road will need to be a state route.  Part of it already is GA 341, but this needs to have a major designation extending all the way to GA 151 south of Ringgold.  The best candidate is GA 2 Alt since it will tie into GA 2 at Nickajack Road and tie into GA 2 (overlapped with U.S. 41) in Ringgold.  If U.S. 76 overtakes existing GA 2, it could also be re-designated as GA 2 mainline.  This means the south route will extend from Ringgold to Chickamauga to Chattanooga Valley while the north route is existing Battlefield Parkway through Fort Oglethorpe and Flintstone.

Rock Spring to Ringgold: Kay Conley Road Extension

Kay Conley Road is one of those roads that makes you wonder why it is the way it is.  It makes a bee line due east for a couple miles only to make a hard right and revert to an inconsequential local road.  Traffic going in that direction to Ringgold must instead turn left onto Long Hollow Road then a hard right onto East Long Hollow Road, which eventually becomes Peavine Road.  It is not a straightforward route, and it means that traffic going to Rock Spring from Ringgold have no direct way of doing so.

Traffic going from Rock Spring to Ringgold have two options with the functionally classified route going north on Long Hollow Road and turning back east at an angle down East Long Hollow Road, which becomes Peavine Road.  Notice the hard right turn on Kay Conley Road as well.  A new road (shown in red) would fix this by constructing a link from Mt. Pisgah Road (which becomes Peavine) to the turn on Kay Conley Road.  This project would include one bridge over East Fork Chickamauga Creek. 

The fix for this is pretty simple: a new 1.9 mile long road extending from that hard right turn on Kay Conley Road to connect into Peavine Road where Beaumont Road connects.  This connection would result in a realignment of that intersection, but it would also result in a direct connection from GA 151 to U.S. 27 with no turns.  It would provide not only Rock Spring, but also LaFayette with a faster, better connection to I-75 at minimal cost.  Despite its proximity to the proposed GA 2 Alt, this road should also become a state route.  

Chickamauga to Ringgold: Twin Cedars Road Extension

Traveling from Chickamauga east to U.S. 27 is nearly a straight shot down Lee Clarkson Road, which becomes Twin Cedars Road east of Old LaFayette Road.  However, it fails on connectivity east of Long Hollow Road, resulting in yet another dogleg to reach Ringgold.  While Red Belt Road is promoted as a route for GA 2 Alt, that does not mean that the other way into Chickamauga does not deserve a better connection.  A mere 0.9 mile connector from the east end of Twin Cedars Road to Red Belt Road would do the trick.  Because it will require a realignment of the intersection with Red Belt and Mel McDaniel Road ruining the primary movement of Red Belt Road, the best solution for this new intersection is a traffic circle.  This way, movement will be continuous in every direction. 

The Twin Cedars Road extension directly connects the city of Chickamauga to Ringgold with an 0.9 mile road skirting the side of a ridge.  The lack of a road there today is probably due to this ridge, but it is needed to improve connectivity.


It is clear that Northwest Georgia is at a disadvantage for state funding, or more progress would have been made to modernize the region's highways.  With a lack of industry, a slow rate of growth, and a lack of political clout, it is difficult for the region to convince GDOT to provide funds to the region to improve mobility.  Furthermore, most of the counties in the region are economically depressed, and they are too small in resources to properly fund or manage regionally significant road projects.  In urban counties like Cobb, it is typical that the local government funds what the state will not, but it is also a very populous and wealthy county.  Northwest Georgia is further exacerbated with many cities in Northwest Georgia diluting the tax base with the already inadequate population in each county, it is not working to get the transportation system where it needs to be.

What needs to be done right away is to develop a regional funding system and road system to accommodate these problems.  Every county and city in Northwest Georgia should band together to combine their road systems, starting with just traffic control, so that maintenance is handled by a regional DOT such as "Armuchee Regional DOT" to offset administrative costs and improve maintenance.  Doing this will place the road system under direct engineering supervision allowing them to better identify needed local projects and develop the economies of scale needed to provide better standards and maintain much more with less.  At present, many counties in Northwest Georgia do not even have an engineer on staff, and the ones that do have many other responsibilities besides roads. 

So which counties should participate?  The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission includes 15 counties, but if just the ones in the Chattanooga and Dalton region banded together, it would make a huge difference.  The counties of Dade, Walker, Chattooga, Catoosa, Whitfield, and Murray are very interconnected culturally, physically, and economically.  It is also the region, as demonstrated, where east-west connectivity is the poorest.  If all counties in the entire 15 county region combined services for roads, they'd share a population of nearly 900,000 putting it close to the population of Delaware.  Even if just the listed counties combined, they'd have a population of over 300,000: more than enough to share the cost of traffic engineering to form a regional DOT thus giving every county in the region oversight from a full-service DOT.  If that cost was shared based on population ratio per each member agency, it would create a fair division that would benefit each member.  If, for instance, operations totalled $350,000 per year, Dade's portion (including Trenton) would be a mere $18,331: approximately the wage of a full-time employee earning $9/hr.

How does this relate to road projects?  It relates, because the counties alone are not managing regional needs adequately, and they have been unable to raise adequate funds on a local level to advance local projects that the state has been unwilling to fund.  This is especially important considering that the proposed projects will add miles of current state roads to the local level. 

Another thing is that this program needs to be developed with regional taxes.  Instead of levying a tax only in each county, the counties that make up the northwest corner of the state should raise a 3-5 cent collective gas tax that funds both operations of the regional DOT as well as a series of regionally-significant road projects giving the region a degree of independence from GDOT while giving them the ability to maintain roads on levels comparable to or better than GDOT.  If the legislature were to get involved, a regional, preferably elected, planning and oversight board should be formed that decides which projects to be funded allowing important projects to cross county lines as well as overseeing operations of a regional DOT.  While SPLOST taxes would NOT be regional, any additional sales taxes on a local level could boost the contribution necessary to fund regionally significant road projects and increase maintenance levels on county roads.

This map shows the 15 counties that make up the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, but imagine if even half of these, notably the six counties in the northwest corner, had their own funding source and consolidated highway system.  It could not only self-finance these road projects, but it could also have some of the best roads in the state.

In addition, a regional approach allows a region that is underfunded for a very large road responsibility to contract with GDOT.  While it would make sense that any county in Northwest Georgia contract with GDOT currently for non-technical road maintenance, doing this on a regional level with a regional DOT would result in significant state payments thus eliminating duplication of services and strengthening the position of a regional DOT so that counties and cities do not have to shoulder all of the operational costs.  A poor tax base, duplication of services, and a lack of regional cooperation are a big part of why connectivity is poor in Northwest Georgia today.  Perhaps if the region developed their own highway agency and funding sources, this could all change making the region an example for the rest of the state while subsequently improving the economic fortunes of so many isolated cities and towns across the region.  

Monday, January 8, 2018

More Interstate Business Loops Are Needed in Georgia and Why

Interstate business loops are a common feature in Western states where interstates by-pass cities and towns, but they are comparatively rare in the east.  Part of this is because the original U.S. routes have rarely been decommissioned running along interstates since they serve as alternate routes in traffic tie-ups, and there are numerous cities and towns along these roads that need this bypassed highway to remain on-system as its original U.S. route.  However, that does not mean that interstate business loops are not needed in these places, and Georgia is no exception.  The reason is that interstate traffic does not have time to parse whether a piece of old highway will lead them to local businesses as a pit-stop on long-distance travels.  Are they exiting onto a remote piece of highway or are they exiting through a town with lots of services?  Plenty of dead businesses indicate that the options available are not clear.

A look at how I-575 Business Loop would be more effective to draw traffic into Ball Ground than a state designation.

While Georgia does have business loops, they are limited in scope and only exist along parts of I-95 in coastal Georgia and I-75 in South Georgia.  It seems as if a process to add them had begun then a change in leadership stopped any further ones from being designated.  In addition, Georgia has a situation with too many odd bannered routes that serve as useless information for the public where sections of by-passed highways enter larger cities and towns.  The best example is GA 5 Business in Ball Ground and Canton serving as the "business" route for I-575.  Sure, GA 5 overlaps I-575, but does the public really KNOW this?  Most people still think that old route is GA 5, period.  It is a bad choice for a designation.  Other cases involve bannered or unrelated routes such as "GA 25 Spur" to US 17 in Brunswick, a soon to decommissioned part of GA 53 in Calhoun, and many other instances where assigning a business loop would make perfect sense.  Below is a list of candidates for business loops that need serious consideration, and all follow current state routes:

  1. I-20 Business Loop
    • Villa Rica
      • Follows GA 61/101 from I-20, Exit 24 north to U.S. 78
      • Follows U.S. 78/GA 8 through Villa Rica to Liberty Road/GA 8 Connector
      • Follows and superimposes GA 8 Connector, replacing route with an internal number of GA 908 from U.S. 78 to I-20, Exit 26
    • Covington
      • Follows U.S. 278/GA 12 from I-20, Exit 90 to GA 142
      • Follows GA 142 from U.S. 278 to I-20, Exit 93
  2. I-59 Business Loop
    • Trenton
      • Not possible currently, but a proposed new interchange north of Trenton in the New England community might make this possible in the future
  3. I-75 Business Loop
    • Ringgold
      • Follows GA 2 (Battlefield Pkwy) from I-75, Exit 350 to US 41/76 then follows US 41/76 through Ringgold to return to I-75, Exit 345
      • Alternate shorter routing following GA 151 from I-75, Exit 348 to US 41/76 to I-75, Exit 350 may also be considered
    • Calhoun
      • Follows U.S. 41 from the Resaca exit (Exit 318) to existing GA 53.
      • Follows existing GA 53 from US 41 to I-75 (Exit 312)
      • Portion of GA 53 between I-75 and US 41 will need to be retained as a state route when GA 53 is moved for a total distance of 1.0 miles with an internal number of GA 903
    • Forsyth
      • Follows GA 83 from I-75, Exit 187 to U.S. 41/GA 18 in Downtown Forsyth
      • Follows U.S. 41/GA 18 to split of U.S. 41 and GA 18
      • Follows GA 18 from U.S. 41 to I-75, Exit 185
    • Perry
      • Follows U.S. 341 from I-75, Exit 136 to U.S. 41 Business in Downtown Perry
      • Follows U.S. 41/GA 127 from U.S. 341 to I-75, Exit 135
    • Unadilla
      • Follows GA 230 from I-75, Exit 122 to U.S. 41 in Downtown Unadilla
      • Follows U.S. 41 from GA 230 to I-75, Exit 121
  4. I-75 Business Spur
    • Marietta
      • Follows Canton Road Connector/existing GA 5 from I-75 to Church Street Extension in Marietta
      • Designed to replace GA 5 designation when or if GA 5 is relocated
      • May also be extended northward along Canton Road Connector to end at Canton Road/Old GA 5
  5. I-85 Business Loop
    • West Point/Lanett, AL
      • Follows U.S. 29 from I-85, Exit 79 in Alabama to GA 18
      • Follows GA 18 from U.S. 29 to I-85, Exit 2 in GA
    • Newnan
      • Follows U.S. 27 Alt/29 from I-85, Exit 41 to GA 34 in Downtown Newnan
      • Follows GA 34 (Bullsboro Drive) from U.S. 27 Alt/29 to I-85, Exit 47
    • Carnesville
      • Follows GA 320 from I-85, Exit 164 to GA 59
      • Follows GA 59 from GA 320 to GA 106 north
      • Follows GA 106 from GA 59 to I-85, Exit 166
  6. I-95 Business Loop
    • Brunswick
      • Follows U.S. 17 from I-95, Exit 29 to Golden Isles Pkwy (GA 25 Spur)
      • Follows GA 25 Spur from U.S. 17 to I-95, Exit 38
      • Note that renumbering of GA 25 Spur to GA 395 should still be considered
  7. I-516 Business Spur
    • Port Wentworth
      • Follows GA 21 from I-95, Exit 109 to northern end of I-516, Exit 8
      • Northern portion serves as a defacto extension of I-516 to I-95 along a surface arterial
    • Savannah
      • Follows GA 21 from south end of I-516 to GA 204
      • Should include extension along currently local DeRenne Avenue (Old GA 21) to Harry Truman Parkway
  8. I-575 Business Loop
    • Canton
      • Follows existing GA 5 Business from Exit 16 to Exit 20 on I-575
      • Superimposes GA 5 Business, replacing route with an internal number of GA 905 along independent portion from GA 140 north to Exit 20 on I-575
    • Ball Ground
      • Follows existing GA 5 business from Exit 27 to end of I-575 in Nelson
      • Superimposes GA 5 Business, replacing route with an internal number of GA 905 along independent portion from GA 372 south to Exit 27 on I-575
  9. I-985 Business Loop
    • Gainesville
      • Two options for the southern end:
      • Option 1 follows former GA 365 Business (current GA 60/53 Connector) from I-985, Exit 20 to GA 369 (Browns Bridge Road)
      • Option 2 follows GA 13 from the recently constructed interchange with I-985, Exit 17, to GA 369 (Browns Bridge Road)
      • Rest of route follows GA 369 north to rejoin I-985 at its northern terminus (Exit 24)

  • I-20

Villa Rica following parts of GA 61, U.S. 78, and GA 8 Connector

Covington following parts of U.S. 278 and GA 142
  • I-75

Ringgold following parts of GA 151 and U.S. 41/76.  Not shown is an alternative where GA 2 (visible on the upper left) forms the north end of the business loop.

Calhoun forms a nearly perfect business loop following U.S. 41 and a soon to be decommissioned 1.0 mile portion of GA 53.

The Canton Road Connector is currently a mix of GA 5 and GA 5 Spur.  Along with the proposed relocation of GA 5, this would renumber at least the southern end from I-75 to Church St. Extension (Old GA 3) as I-75 Business Spur.  Preferably, the north end (GA 5 Spur) also gets reassigned I-75 Business Spur.  An internal state designation of GA 905 would be applied to this whole stretch.

Forsyth would get a business loop following parts of GA 83, U.S. 41 and GA 18.

Perry's proposed business loop follows parts of U.S. 341, 41, and GA 127.

The business loop through Unadilla is probably the lowest priority, but it's also the shortest at 1.9 miles following parts of GA 230 and U.S. 41.

  • I-85

The West Point business loop would require cooperation with ALDOT to create, but as seen here it makes entirely perfect sense to designate this stretch as such.

I-85 Business Loop through Newnan makes perfect sense even though it will be tacked onto U.S. 27 Alt and U.S. 29 on the southern end.  A similar loop was considered through LaGrange, but it was too convoluted and out of the way.

Carnesville is a comparatively small town, but it is not well served the way the routes are set up currently.  It is also the county seat of Franklin County.  Creating a business loop along GA 320, 59, and 106 would certainly be beneficial.
  • I-95

I-95 Business Loop in Brunswick should come with a route renumbering where GA 25 Spur becomes GA 395, a state-numbered spur of I-95.  As you see, GA 395 forks off to St. Simons Island while I-95 Business Loop follows the western leg of present GA 25 Spur east of I-95 and U.S. 17 across the Sidney Lanier Bridge.
  • I-516

I-516 ends in a strange place on GA 21 not connecting to I-95.  It would make sense to designate the surface route between I-95 and the end of I-516 as a business spur of I-516 so as to keep route number continuity back to another interstate.

The southern end of I-516 also ends in a random spot and does not connect to the nearest highway.  Considering that Harry Truman Parkway is a county-maintained freeway on the east side of the city, it also makes sense to extend the business spur designation past the otherwise logical terminus at GA 21 to end at Harry Truman Parkway.  The portion east of GA 21 could remain local with the state initially installing signage on behalf of the city.

  • I-575

The route in Canton is already assigned as GA 5 Business, but the problem is that the public does not understand that GA 5 follows I-575 and not the original two lane route.  It would make much more sense to replace this confusing state designation with a business loop for I-575.  The current independent portion of GA 5 Business would become a secret GA 905 (not shown here).

Ball Ground has a similar problem although it would create a unique situation where both I-575 and I-575 Business Loop end at the same place on the north end.  Once again, doing this eliminates confusion with Old GA 5 that is visible in the photo.

  • I-985

Before I-985 was designated, this road shown here WAS a business route for GA 365, but GDOT removed the signs for GA 365 and hid the designation meaning that the business route had to go.  However, it is still confusing as to which way is the best way to loop through Gainesville.  Placing I-985 Business Loop on this route or a longer route following part of GA 13 down to Oakwood makes the most sense.


The above proposal to add 19 business loops is a low cost option to improve the efficiency of interstate travel off-system across Georgia.  While not every city near an interstate has the interchanges nor route system structure to justify a business loop or spur, these locations certainly do.  Adding these would not only bring traffic into each of these cities business districts, but they also would improve in navigation over the confusing cluster of state routes found in many of these places.  

Monday, November 27, 2017

Decluttering the state highways: Elimination of State Overlaps of U.S. and Interstate Routes

It is no secret that Georgia's route designations are confusing.  As one of only four states who does not match state route numbers with U.S. route numbers, the time has long come and gone to do away with these archaic designations and replace them with many more single-number U.S. routes.  Of those four states, Georgia is the only one to prominently post these routes, but in all cases it causes mass confusion and makes giving directions difficult.  In addition, Georgia's system goes to excesses that no other state would consider including a whole separate number series of secret state routes for interstates and a large collection of bannered routes that refer to the state overlap instead of the parent route.  Think of GA 6 Business in Dallas, which is a business route of U.S. 278.  Confusing?  Yep.

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.  This is an example of one of the worst offenders for state overlaps.  The intersection should be simply US 41, US 41 Business and US 341 By-Pass, but things got a lot more complicated when GA 11 Business (left), GA 11 (right), and GA 11 Connector (straight ahead) were thrown into the mix.  Throw in the hard to read 2" tall banners in the overheads, the flimsy span wires, and incorrect placement of US 41 on the overhead and you see why the overlaps need to go.  Making them "secret" is not enough.  People do not understand what these bannered routes mean, and there is absolutely no need for a completely different state route number from a US route number.  US 41 and US 341 should equal GA 41 and GA 341.  Photo from Google Maps.

Most U.S. routes in Georgia have a duplicating state route somewhere in the state (e.g. U.S. 23 and GA 23).  Sometimes they cross over or overlap each other.  All mainline interstates duplicate with state routes as well (I-24/GA 24), and the issue is most problematic with GA 85, which runs roughly parallel to I-85.  To fix this, not only must each duplicating state route be renumbered, but also the bannered routes renumbered as well.  This is needed in addition to the dropping of the state route numbers from the U.S. and interstate routes.  In other words, dropping GA 12 from U.S. 278 means that GA 278 must also be renumbered so that U.S. 278=GA 278.  In terms of the bannered routes that tie to the state route number, a new method must be developed for signing/marking these, and this will be described shortly.  Additionally, pieces of routes that largely follow U.S. routes with short independent sections will need to be renumbered on those independent sections as well.  The list of routes is long, and many decommissioned highway numbers will need to be resurrected as part of a massive renumbering needed to correct this problem.  For the most part, decommissioned route numbers chosen would come from roads that could not be restored to the original route numbers such as GA 366, which was replaced by GA 77.

Seven routes share the same stretch of pavement in Folkston, and arguably only four should be seen here.  It is made worse by the fact that US 23 and GA 23 overlap: a situation that never should have happened, because GA 23 should have been renumbered when US 23 was introduced.  GA 4 is the lengthy overlap of US 1, GA 15 is the sometimes independent overlap of many US routes (and does not branch off again into Florida).  Only GA 121 is legitimate as an overlap here, and ONLY because it is a multi-state route (FL, GA, and SC) that functions like a US route.  Even then, there is a case for decommissioning GA 121 since it is actually mostly an overlapped route and is not truly a major highway on its own.  Photo from Google Maps.


These are the route numbers that share the same number as U.S. route in the state.  At times they may even overlap or cross the same route number creating confusion not only for motorists, but also for state workers in charge of installing the signs.  In particular, GA 17 comes close to U.S. 17, GA 25 meets U.S. 25 in Brunswick, and GA 27 crosses U.S. 27 in Lumpkin.  
  • GA 1 (Duplicates with U.S. 1; mostly follows U.S. 27)
    • Includes many bannered routes of U.S. 1, but the main issues are with GA 1 Loop in Rome and GA 1 Connector in Lumpkin that will require a unique renumbering
    • GA 1 Loop will likely require a different state reference route such as 53 or 20 (the latter to be renumbered 50) or a unique route number (such as GA 344 that previously followed U.S. 411)
  • GA 17 (Duplicates with U.S. 17 and nearly meets U.S. 17 near Savannah)
    • An extended GA 21 and re-assigned GA 167 would replace this route
    • GA 167 followed a large portion of GA 17 from Millen to Bloomingdale in the 1940's and then was mysteriously decommissioned for an extended GA 17
    • The restored GA 167 would extend much further north ending in Louisville
  • GA 19 (Duplicates with U.S. 19)
    • An independent portion from Dublin to Lumber City will require renumbering
    • For that section, a disjunct GA 68 makes the most logical sense, since GA 68 is a prime candidate for extension south from its current terminus to Dublin
    • A re-designated GA 134 and extended GA 126 is the second option since it ties into Old GA 134
  • GA 25 (Duplicates with U.S. 25; mostly follows U.S. 17 and crosses U.S. 25 in Brunswick with numerous confusing bannered routes carrying the GA 25 number)
    • Only a small section in Garden City does not follow U.S. 17
    • Renumber as GA 925 south of GA 30 through Garden City and Port Wentworth
    • Renumber GA 25 Connector as another section of GA 925 from GA 21 to US 17
    • Renumber as GA 170 north of GA 30 (including a renumbering of GA 30 to GA 170)
    • Its most significant bannered route, GA 25 Spur/GA 25 Spur E can easily be renumbered a far more clever GA 395 to highlight its status as a spur of I-95 into Brunswick and as a likely interstate route number (I-395) if the roadway is ever upgraded to full freeway
    • Other bannered routes should be assigned as sections of GA 925
  • GA 27 (Duplicates with U.S. 27; crosses U.S. 27 in Lumpkin)
    • Renumber as GA 30 from Hawkinsville to Americus (number currently is primarily a state overlap of US 280)
    • The rest follows US 341 and will be decommissioned
  • GA 29 (Duplicates with U.S. 29; mostly follows U.S. 441)
    • Mostly concurrent with US 80 and US 441
    • Independent portion between Dublin and Soperton can become a relocated GA 86 (existing GA 86 renumbered as GA 322 or decommissioned)
  • GA 41 (Duplicates with U.S. 41; partially follows U.S. 27 Alt)
    • Reassign as GA 7, which will be removed from existing US 19 and 41 on independent portions south of Warm Springs
    • North of Warm Springs, decommission since it follows U.S. 27 Alt
  • GA 76 (Duplicates with U.S. 76)
    • Reassign as GA 58, which currently follows U.S. 11 with no bannered routes
  • GA 78 (Duplicates with U.S. 78)
    • GA 78 mostly follows other routes with only two small independent portions in Soperton and east of Wadley
    • An extended GA 242 and a renumbering of GA 78 in Soperton into a bannered route for a relocated GA 86 could easily eliminate this completely useless route
  • GA 80 (Duplicates with U.S. 80)
    • The northern portion from Wrens to Washington should become a re-assigned GA 73 (currently overlaps US 301) or GA 21 Alt (reassignment of GA 17)
    • The middle portion should become part of a new route for GA 21 from Wrens to Waynesboro
    • The eastern spur is a turnback candidate and should be assigned as either GA 980 or as GA 56 Loop (existing GA 56 Spur reassigned and extended as a Loop)
  • GA 82 (Duplicates with GA 82)
    • Will require a more complex renumbering with other routes, but the best choice is GA 207
    • GA 207 was previously a short connector used in Oconee County on Hog Mountain Road
    • A map is provided here showing how it all connects and what routes will be assigned to different parts
  • GA 84 (Duplicates with GA 84)
    • GA 84 is a very short route and should be reassigned a less important route number
    • GA 238, a route previously in Troup County cut off by West Point Lake, is the best candidate
    • GA 84 could also be decommissioned given it is only a short connector to Grayson, which is already served by GA 20
  • GA 123 (Duplicates with U.S. 123)
    • GA 123 is a short route, but it is still important; reusing GA 163 (previously on what is now GA 85 Alt in Meriwether County), is the best choice since it is close to the original route number
  • GA 129 (Duplicates with U.S. 129)
    • GA 31 should be removed from its present position as an overlap of US 221 and 441
    • GA 31 replaces all of GA 129 in conjunction with the independent part of GA 23 north of Metter 
  • GA 221 was decommissioned in 1982, so this is no longer an issue
  • GA 278 (Duplicates with U.S. 278)
    • Reassign as GA 359 - number is available with original route replaced by an extended GA 204
  • GA 280 (Duplicates with U.S. 280)
    • Reassign as GA 265 - number is available with original route replaced by a relocated GA 149
  • GA 301 (Duplicates with U.S. 301)
    • Reassign as GA 375; number relates to AL 75, which present-day GA 301 connects
    • GA 375 was briefly assigned to what is now GA 39 and 39 Connector and is available
  • GA 319 was decommissioned in 1989, so this is no longer an issue
  • GA 341 (Duplicates with U.S. 341)
    • Reassign as GA 193 Alternate or GA 349
    • GA 349 was previously used nearby on Happy Valley Road, was decommissioned in 1986, and it would logically connect if it still existed
  • GA 378 (Duplicates with U.S. 378)
    • Reassign as GA 366
    • GA 366 was previously used on part of what is now GA 77 in Hart County

A look at the current and much improved routes in Brunswick with the state overlaps removed.  Also proposed here is the designation of an I-95 Business Loop through Brunswick that follows present GA 25 Spur and U.S. 17 across the Sidney Lanier Bridge.  The major fix here is the removal of all of the GA 25 banners that are confused with U.S. 25: especially the reassignment of GA 25 Spur and GA 25 Spur E as GA 395.


The reassignment of state route numbers that duplicate interstates is is likely to be the most controversial aspect of the route renumbering due to the clearer difference in route signs as well as the fact that very long major state routes will have to be reassigned with new route numbers.  Problems exists here as well such as GA 20 crossing I-20 in Conyers and GA 85 running roughly parallel to I-85.  The duplicate list is as follows along with the recommended change:

  • GA 14
    • Future interstate designation
    • Currently assigned primarily to US 29 with several substantial bannered routes south of Atlanta
    • Only a small independent section in Atlanta that could be assigned as GA 914
  • GA 16
    • Reassign as GA 8 on independent portions
    • GA 8 is currently assigned as the state overlap of parts of US 78 and US 29
    • Renumber western independent part of GA 16 in Carrollton as GA 210
    • GA 210 was previously assigned to a current part of GA 189 in Lookout Mountain
    • Overlap on U.S. 27 Alt between Newnan and Carrollton may be retained to preserve continuity into Alabama through Bowdon (currently GA 166)
  • GA 20
    • Reassign as GA 50 on entire route
    • GA 50 is currently assigned only to a portion of US 82 west of Dawson with no bannered routes
  • GA 24
    • Reassign independent portions as GA 38
    • GA 38 is currently the state overlap of US 84
  • GA 59
    • A portion is already proposed to be reassigned as GA 63
    • Reassign as GA 89 or 959 on remaining portion depending on long-term state priorities for this route
    • GA 89 is currently assigned only to a portion of US 441 south of Pearson with no bannered routes
  • GA 75
    • GA 75 is mostly overlapped with GA 17 (proposed renumbering to GA 21)
    • Independent portion south of GA 17 should be reassigned as GA 69
    • GA 69 was previously assigned to a small portion of GA 17 from US 76 to North Carolina border
    • Northern independent portion north of US 76 should be reassigned as GA 175 to match NC 175
    • GA 175 was previously used in Lanier and Lowndes County with the current road partially abandoned
  • GA 85
    • Likely the most controversial route change, GA 85 roughly parallels I-85 between Columbus and Atlanta
    • The entire route should be reassigned GA 35
    • GA 35 currently is entirely a state overlap with US 319 with one independent bannered route in Thomasville (GA 35 Connector)
  • GA 95
    • Short highway in Northwest Georgia running from GA 151 to US 27 in Rock Spring
    • Can easily be renumbered as GA 295
    • GA 295 was previously used on a portion of what is currently I-75 south of Atlanta
  • GA 185
    • Renumber as GA 245
    • GA 245 was previously used on what is currently GA 60 between Mineral Bluff and McCaysville and was decommissioned in 1977
  • GA 285
    • Short highway in Seminole County
    • May be easily renumbered as GA 276
    • GA 276 was previously a spur in Long County from US 25 decommissioned in 1981 and the former route is an unpaved road that is functionally local
  • GA 475
    • No routes in Georgia have this number
  • GA 516
    • No routes in Georgia have this number
  • GA 520
    • GRIP corridor assignments are proposed for removal as part of this plan with the US 82 route number becoming the only route number
    • Independent portion of GA 520 west of Americus to be renumbered back to GA 55
    • Independent portion east of U.S. 17 in Brunswick to be re-assigned as GA 258
    • GA 258 previously followed what is now GA 54 from Hogansville to U.S. 27 in Troup County
  • GA 575
    • No routes in Georgia have this number
  • GA 675
    • No routes in Georgia have this number
  • GA 985
    • No highway in Georgia currently has this designation
    • It will conflict with the old alignment designation along GA 85 (985) meaning any old alignment route will need to reference the new route number (35)


Three methods exist of dealing with bannered routes that carry the state designation when it is part of a U.S. route.  The first essentially retains the "ghost" of the former state overlap.  This means that even though the state overlap would no longer exist, any use of a 900 series route would reference the former route.  Adding 900 gives it a unique route number while still using the old system as roughly a bannered route.  The methods are as follows:
  1. Assign the original state overlap number +900 (e.g. 935 for Old GA 35)
    • This only works for routes numbered 1-99
    • It is a "ghost" method in that the parent state overlap would no longer exist if it relates to a U.S. route (e.g. GA 901 for Old US 27, which was also GA 1)
    • Routes of this type may be unsigned or partially signed where it creates confusion
    • Often these routes should be assigned as truck routes (TRUCK U.S. 25), an unofficial banner route of a US route (U.S. 19 Connector), or with trailblazers (TO U.S. 17)
    • If used for a longer old alignment, the routes should be signed
    • 900 Series routes repeat in sections meaning that along Old U.S. 129 (formerly GA 11) in North Georgia, each old alignment would be 911 with a section letter or number (911-2S or 911B)
    • County sections of old alignments may also eventually carry the 900 series route numbers with a county route sign, so this should be factored in (e.g. CR 911-8C or CR 911H)
    • 900 Series routes may also be used as a step to decommission a route
  2. Assign officially as a state route of the U.S. route (GA 23 Connector for U.S. 23), but sign in the field as a U.S. route (U.S. 23 Connector)
    • This method also works for 900 series routes such as signing 915 as U.S. 441 Connector in Habersham County
  3. Assign an entirely new route number
    • If practical and a number is available, assign an original state route number to a bannered route (e.g. GA 244 for GA 247 Connector)
    • This is generally used for when bannered routes are longer and function as their own highway such as the GA 247 Connector example
    • This is also used when a 900 series route number is not practical (state overlap is 100+)

Wow, isn't this so much simpler than all the 247 and 11 banners?  Suddenly it's clear what the Perry By-Pass actually is, where U.S. 41 is, and motorists are even provided a reasonable option to by-pass Fort Valley to reach I-75 and Warner Robins.  The empty circles show all the state highways that were removed.


The elimination of state routes that do not duplicate U.S. route numbers, but follow significant portions of U.S. routes is where things get quite complicated.  The list here includes routes that will be eliminated and/or completely relocated, not routes that will be truncated.  This includes state routes like GA 6 and 56 that will still retain part of their route where it does not overlap U.S. routes.  Some highlights, including creative reassignments, will be posted here.  
  • GA 7
    • Reassignment along what is currently GA 41 between Warm Springs and Morgan
    • Existing GA 7 removed from U.S. 41 and 341
  • GA 8
    • Reassignment along what is currently GA 16 from Newnan to Warrenton
    • GA 8 may assume a portion of U.S. 27 Alt from Newnan to Carrollton if it follows current GA 166 west into Alabama
    • Existing GA 8 removed along U.S. 29 and 78
  • GA 10
    • Will be removed on all but a section in Atlanta along U.S. 78
    • Section in Atlanta can be renumbered back to GA 410, especially since overlap along Stone Mountain Freeway will be removed.
  • GA 12
    • Will be removed along all of U.S. 278 with availability for reassignment
  • GA 14
    • Will be removed along all of U.S. 29, but not made available for reassignment due to possibility of I-14 being built in Georgia within the next 20 years
    • GA 14 Spur in LaGrange becomes GA 914, section 1 and GA 14 Connector becomes GA 914, section 2.
    • GA 914, section 1 in LaGrange may be signed as U.S. 29 Connector
  • GA 30
    • Eliminated as an overlap of U.S. 280 and reassigned as a replacement for GA 27
    • Independent section of GA 30 west of Americus renumbered GA 160
    • GA 160 was previously used as a short business route in Forest Park and has been renumbered/decommissioned
    • Independent section of GA 30 east of GA 17 renumbered as GA 170 to match SC side
    • GA 170 was decommissioned/renumbered on Lookout Mountain as mostly GA 157 with remainder now a functionally local road (Old Durham Road)
  • GA 31
    • Currently an overlap with U.S. 221 with one bannered route
    • Proposed to be renumbered onto parts of current GA 23 and 129
  • GA 35
    • Currently an overlap with parts of U.S. 221, 319, and 441
    • Proposed to be renumbered onto current GA 85
  • GA 38
    • Currently an overlap with U.S. 84
    • Proposed to be renumbered onto current GA 24
  • GA 43
    • Currently an overlap of U.S. 378 with an independent section south of Lincolnton
    • Proposed to be removed from U.S. 378 with existing GA 43 reassigned as GA 143
    • GA 143 was previously used in Northwest Georgia, and was renumbered or removed in 1977
  • GA 50
    • Currently a portion remains along U.S. 82 west of Dawson
    • Will be removed as part of overlap removal
  • GA 58
    • Currently follows U.S. 11 in Dade County
    • New route to be assigned on current GA 76
  • GA 72
    • Part of a proposed relocation of U.S. 72, GA 72 would simply be "upgraded" to U.S. 72 along its entire route
    • The proposed U.S. 72 connection is between Scottsboro, AL and Athens, GA and is currently assigned other route numbers.
  • GA 73
    • Currently follows U.S. 301 in part
    • New route to be assigned on current GA 80 from Wrens to Washington
  • GA 89
    • Currently follows U.S. 441 south of Lakeland
    • New route to be assigned on current GA 59 north of GA 63
  • GA 247
    • Currently follows U.S. 129 between Hawkinsville and Macon with small independent section north of GA 87 to I-75
    • GA 247 Connector becomes a re-assigned GA 244 coupled with an extension west overlapping GA 49 to include all of GA 49 Connector
    • GA 244 was previously used for a route submerged by West Point Lake that was replaced by GA 109
    • GA 247 Spur, if retained, should become just GA 247.  It is an old alignment of GA 247 and is a turnback candidate
    • GA 247 north of GA 87 should become GA 41 Connector signed as U.S. 41 Connector
  • GA 282
    • Currently follows U.S. 76 between GA 5/515 in Ellijay and U.S. 411
    • Would be removed along its current route, but the route designation would be reserved for an extension/re-designation along existing county roads west of U.S. 411
  • GA 365
    • Currently follows U.S. 23, 123, and I-985 (unsigned) between I-85 and the South Carolina line
    • Would be removed entirely along its current route
  • GA 369
    • Would be removed from the state system if either GA 98 is extended west along existing GA 369 or U.S. 72 is established in its place.
    • Independent portion north of U.S. 129 would be reassigned as either a restored GA 13 or GA 913 as well as Business Loop I-985
  • GA 385
    • Route was established only as a state overlap of U.S. 441 Business in Clarkesville in 1991
    • It should also be retired due to the potential of I-385 being assigned in GA along existing GA 316 in the future
  • GA 400
    • U.S. 19 should be moved entirely onto existing GA 400 south of I-285 with GA 9 taking over the remainder of U.S. 19 along Peachtree and Roswell Roads
    • All of GA 400 should become simply U.S. 19 with a public information campaign and large "FORMER GA 400" signs posted for at least 1-2 years
    • Consideration should be made to make GA 400 an interstate on the freeway portions such as I-785
  • GA 401-409 and 411-422
    • With the removal of state routes duplicating interstates, all secret 400 series routes need to be removed.  If they are not removed, then GA 411 along I-185 needs to be reassigned since it relates to U.S. 411
  • GA 403 Spur
    • May be assigned as GA 85 Spur (unsigned)
  • GA 404 Spur
    • Route entirely follows U.S. 17 from I-16 in Savannah to SC state line
  • GA 410
    • Route should be removed from Stone Mountain Freeway since it is already U.S. 78, but it will be re-established on Freedom Parkway to replace the orphaned portion of GA 10
    • GA 410 along Freedom Parkway may be unsigned or assigned as I-75 Business Spur
  • GA 422
    • Remove extra designation along the Athens Perimeter and reassign GA 350 that was used on the perimeter originally
  • GA 515
    • GA 515 causes massive confusion due to its similarity to I-575
    • It also overlaps other routes (up to three) causing GA 5 and U.S. 76 to be diminished in importance when they are major routes causing confusion as to the actual locations of both routes
    • Since no GRIP corridors have been assigned since 515, it should be decommissioned
    • U.S. 76 and GA 5 may be done in blue with "Appalachian Highway" plaques to make up for the loss of the extra route
    • Extra "Appalachian Highway" or "APD HWY CORRIDOR A" signs may be used to indicate locations where turns exist or route designations change
  • GA 520
    • GA 520 was the only other GRIP corridor assigned, and it should also be removed
    • Most of GA 520 follows U.S. 82, and U.S. 82 should take precedence
    • Independent portion between Dawson and Richland should be reassigned back to GA 55
    • Independent portion east of U.S. 17 to Jekyll Island should be renumbered as GA 258
    • Existing "South Georgia Parkway" signs would be installed at locations where turns exist or route designations change to replace the 520 signs
  • Other GRIP corridors
    • None have been posted since 1989
    • GRIP corridors should use existing route numbers, but may have color-coded route signage and/or special text signage indicating the corridor name installed at locations where turns exist or route designations change 
  • Net Route Numbers Made Available: 10, 12, 43, and 50
    • Numbers over 400 should not be available until current 400 series interstate overlaps are retired.

Toccoa demonstrates what happens when state overlaps are removed.  GA 17 is replaced with GA 21, and the confusion of GA 17 Alt is replaced with a GA 21 Business route and an extended GA 63.  GA 915 replaces GA 15 Connector and GA 15 Loop.  GA 15 is an overlaps of U.S. 441 and must be reassigned.  GA 915 in Cornelia would be mostly signed as "TO US 441 SOUTH" or "TO US 23 SOUTH" from the two endpoints of the route with the number either unsigned or only signed as reassurance signs.  GA 915 in Tallulah Falls could be either signed, unsigned or signed as "SCENIC US 441".  GA 15, 365, and 385 are all shown here as decommissioned (blank circles) requiring that motorists use only the U.S. route numbers assigned to those routes (U.S. 23, 123, 441, and 441 Business).

Removing state overlaps got more complicated in Washington and Lincolnton since GA 17 and 80 required renumbering while GA 43, 44, and 47 could not be removed from their respective routes without renumbering.  GA 47 between Union Point (not shown) and Washington through Crawfordville is renumbered as GA 44 Alt.  GA 80 becomes GA 73.  GA 17 becomes GA 21.  GA 43 is renumbered GA 143 with the designation trimmed from U.S. 378.  GA 47 is ultimately relocated and takes over existing GA 79 with existing GA 43 Connector reassigned as GA 47 By-Pass due to the staggered connection over U.S. 378.

GDOT would do well to notice how much more useful this map would be if applied between Gainesville and Athens.  In the early 1960's, dozens of routes were added willy-nilly, and this straightens it out.  GA 98 gets a more logical endpoint connecting Gainesville to Commerce.  GA 82, which must be renumbered, is replaced with GA 330, 207, and 982 with parts of existing 98 and 211 grouped into the new 207 to create a complete north-south route between GA 316 and Homer.  GA 982 is assigned to GA 82 west of proposed GA 207 with the assumption that this road will likely go to the county soon, but GA 346 could also be re-assigned onto this route as well.  GA 63 is also shown taking over GA 11 and 15 Alt, and U.S. 72 is shown overlapping U.S. 129...a proposed plan that extends U.S. 72 east from Alabama.  However, that may also be GA 72 as well, following GA 369 to Canton.  This also makes Jefferson a lot less confusing with GA 15 Alt and 11 Connector eliminated.  GA 316 is shown here, but is also proposed to be replaced with just U.S. 29.

This sign in Jefferson fails for so many reasons: too much information, too difficult to quickly parse, too many bannered routes in small text, etc.  In the proposed fix, the unnecessary GA 11 Business would be replaced with GA 63 continuing straight and GA 207 (currently GA 82) would be shown going straight and to the left.  GA 15 Alt to the right is presently useless information since it is best known as U.S. 129.

With the route renumbering as shown in the map, suddenly the intersection begins to make a lot more sense.  In addition, with fewer bannered routes to sign, perhaps proper M4-3 banners can be installed on BUSINESS routes.


These are routes that will remain, but will be substantially truncated, modified, or extended to make these highways work:

  • GA 2
    • Existing GA 2 would be truncated so that its eastern terminus is at U.S. 411 in Cisco
    • It would be removed from U.S. 411, GA 52, and U.S. 76
  • GA 6
    • Existing GA 6 would be truncated so that its western terminus is at U.S. 78 in Austell where U.S. 278 joins and overtakes the route
  • GA 9
    • Existing GA 9 would follow only the old alignment of U.S. 19.  Portions where U.S. 19 currently overlaps GA 9 would become just U.S. 19.  This would truncate the route to between Dahlonega and Atlanta
  • GA 13
    • Existing GA 13 would be truncated to follow only the old alignment of U.S. 23 between Gainesville and GA 20 in Buford.
    • Portion south of U.S. 23 in Atlanta would become a possibly unsigned GA 913
    • GA 13 may also be re-extended north through Gainesville to replace GA 369 ending at I-985
  • GA 15
    • Much of GA 15 is independent, and what remains would go from U.S. 1 in Race Pond to U.S. 129/441 in Watkinsville
  • GA 21
    • GA 21 would be substantially extended from its current terminus in Millen to the North Carolina Border
    • It would follow all of current GA 17 from the North Carolina border to Wrens then split off and follow GA 80 and U.S. 25/GA 121 from Waynesboro to Millen
    • Existing GA 17 from Wrens to Millen on independent alignment would become part of GA 167
  • GA 22
    • GA 22 would be truncated so that its southern terminus is at U.S. 129 in Gray and would no longer follow U.S. 80
  • GA 24
    • Much of GA 24 is independent, but the section from Milledgeville to Watkinsville would be decommissioned as part of an overlap of U.S. 129 and 441
    • Independent section is proposed to be renumbered as GA 38 to eliminate interstate duplication
  • GA 26
    • GA 26 would be truncated so that its western terminus is at U.S. 80 west of Dudley
  • GA 42
    • GA 42 would be truncated so that its northern terminus is at U.S. 23 south of Jackson
    • Independent portion in Atlanta should be renumbered as GA 942 or a new route number such as U.S. 23 Connector
  • GA 44
    • GA 44 would be truncated south to end at GA 16 (proposed GA 8) in Eatonton
    • GA 44 would gain a new bannered route with GA 44 Alt between Union Point and Washington to overtake part of GA 47 (realigned to another route) and overlapped with a portion of U.S. 278
  • GA 47
    • GA 47 would be truncated south to end at U.S. 221 and would be extended north along existing GA 79 to end at GA 72 east of Elberton
    • GA 43 Connector would be reassigned as GA 47 By-Pass
    • GA 79 would be decommissioned and become an available route number as part of this change
  • GA 52
    • GA 52 would be truncated to west of Gillsville as part of the GA 98 relocation.
    • GA 98 would be relocated and extended as part of a series of route changes surrounding the renumbering of GA 82 to GA 207, 330, and 982
  • GA 53
    • GA 53 would be truncated so that its western terminus is at U.S. 27 in Rome
  • GA 55
    • GA 55 would be re-assigned and extended along present GA 520 between Dawson and Richland
  • GA 56
    • GA 56 would be truncated south to end at U.S. 221 north of I-16
    • Orphaned section extending from U.S. 221 to U.S. 280 in Reidsville would be reassigned as a relocated GA 147
    • Existing GA 147 from Reidsville to U.S. 1 would become a re-assigned GA 222
    • Former GA 222 was a short route in Meriwether County extending from GA 173 to GA 85 and is not federal-aid eligible
  • GA 63
    • GA 63 would be substantially extended south from its current southern terminus at GA 59 to overtake GA 59 south to Commerce, all of GA 15 Alt from Commerce to U.S. 441 Business in Jefferson, GA 11 Business from U.S. 129 Business to U.S. 129 in Jefferson, and all of GA 11 from U.S. 129 in Jefferson to U.S. 129 in Gray
    • The goal is to remove independent portions of GA 11 and 15 Alt between Gray and Commerce so that both can be decommissioned
    • GA 63 would also be extended north from its current terminus in Toccoa to overtake GA 17 Alt to end at U.S. 441 in Hollywood
  • GA 67
    • GA 67 would be truncated north to end at U.S. 25 Business in Statesboro
  • GA 68
    • GA 68 would include a disjunct section from U.S. 80 in Dublin to U.S. 23/341 in Lumber City replacing GA 19
    • GA 68 would be extended further along current GA 117 to end at U.S. 319/441 in Jacksonville (GA 117 would be truncated further west); this is done to make GA 68 a complete loop
    • GA 68 is designated as such in order to eventually connect to the existing GA 68; existing county roads that extend from Dublin to the southern end at GA 57 should be designated as County Route 68 (signed) until that transition is done
  • GA 69
    • GA 69 would be added along the short independent section of GA 75 from Cleveland to Helen, including an overlap up to current GA 75 Alt
    • GA 69 Alt replaces current GA 75 Alt from Cleveland to Robertstown
    • GA 69 was previously assigned to current GA 17 from U.S. 76 to the North Carolina line and was decommissioned in the late 1950's
  • GA 87
    • GA 87 would be removed from the state system as an overlap of other routes with exception of portion from Eastman to U.S. 280 that would be renumbered as GA 287
    • GA 87 Connector would be reassigned as GA 23 Connector signed as U.S. 23 Connector
  • GA 98
    • GA 98 would be substantially extended and relocated from its current terminus at GA 52 in Maysville to follow part of GA 52 and GA 323 to end at U.S. 129 south of Gainesville
    • Existing GA 98 north of Maysville would be reassigned as part of GA 207
  • GA 117
    • GA 117 was extended north along the Dublin By-Pass just to provide a state overlap for U.S. 441 and would be truncated back to its original northern terminus
    • GA 68 would replaced GA 117 along the southernmost portion between U.S. 319/441 in Jacksonville and U.S. 23/341 in Lumber City
  • GA 121
    • GA 121 is the only state overlap unaffected by this plan due to the fact it is a multi-state route functioning more as a defacto U.S. highway
    • However, a study should be conducted as to whether this route should be decommissioned in parts through the state and if Florida and South Carolina are invested in this route
  • GA 125
    • GA 125 would be extended from its current southern terminus at U.S. 41 in Valdosta to follow U.S. 41 along the Inner Perimeter Road and then replace the current independent section of GA 31 to end at the Florida State Line
  • GA 126
    • If GA 68 is not selected to follow current GA 19, GA 126 would be extended south along current GA 19 to end at U.S. 23/319 in Lumber City
  • GA 130
    • GA 130 would be relocated west of Vidalia in order to accommodate the removal of GA 135 in the area
    • It would follow existing GA 135 to GA 292 then replace GA 192 back to the existing GA 130 in Vidalia
    • Existing GA 130 east of GA 135 to present-day GA 130 would be renumbered as an extension of GA 297
  • GA 134
    • If GA 68 is not selected to follow current GA 19, GA 134 would be reassigned and extended from the GA 126 junction in Jordan to U.S. 80 in Dublin
    • This route ties into the existing Old GA 134 route on purpose to accommodate a county route carrying the same number
  • GA 135
    • GA 135 should be truncated so that its northern terminus is at U.S. 221/441 in Douglas
    • Independent part of GA 135 south of Vidalia should be renumbered as a relocated GA 130 with GA 297 extended over existing GA 130 between current GA 135 and the intersection of GA 130 and 297
  • GA 140
    • GA 140 should be truncated so that its western terminus is at I-75 in Adairsville with GA 72 or U.S. 72 replacing existing route west to U.S. 27 
  • GA 143
    • GA 143 should be re-assigned to existing GA 43 from U.S. 78 to U.S. 378 replacing existing GA 43
    • Reassignment is needed due to shortening of the route; GA 143 was decommissioned in 1977 following mostly what is today GA 136 with other portions renumbered as other routes
  • GA 147
    • GA 147 needs to be relocated to replace current GA 56, which would otherwise be orphaned, from U.S. 221 to U.S. 280 in Reidsville
    • Current GA 147 would be renumbered as a re-assigned GA 222 from U.S. 1 to U.S. 280 in Reidsville through Stanley Store
  • GA 160
    • GA 160 needs to be re-assigned to existing GA 30 from U.S. 19 in Americus to GA 41 (proposed GA 7) south of Buena Vista
    • GA 160 was previously assigned to Main Street and Thurman Road in Forest Park, which has since been decommissioned/renumbered
  • GA 163
    • GA 163 needs to be re-assigned to replace existing GA 123 from GA 102 in Mitchell to GA 16 (proposed GA 8) due to duplication with U.S. 123
    • GA 163 was previously assigned to GA 85 Alt through Warm Springs and was decommissioned in the 1940's
  • GA 167
    • GA 167 needs to be re-assigned to existing GA 17 from I-16 in Bloomingdale to U.S. 1 in Louisville
    • GA 167 was previously assigned to GA 17 south of Millen in the 1940's prior to GA 17 overtaking the route and has not otherwise been reassigned
    • The one banner route, GA 17 By-Pass, would become GA 167 By-Pass
  • GA 170
    • GA 170 needs to be assigned to the eastern orphaned part of GA 30 when GA 30 is reassigned to GA 27 running from GA 17 (proposed GA 167) to GA 25
    • The SC side is already assigned as SC 170, and the Georgia side should match it
    • GA 170 includes a small extension eastward on what is currently GA 25 to join SC 170
    • GA 925 would take over the remaining part of GA 25 through Garden City
    • GA 170 was previously assigned to Old Durham Road and GA 157 on Lookout Mountain, and is not likely to be restored due to renumbering and functional classification change on Old Durham Road to local
  • GA 175
    • GA 175 needs to be re-assigned to the northern orphaned section of GA 75 from U.S. 76 in Hiawassee to the North Carolina state line
    • It is designed to tie into existing NC 175 with the same route number
    • Former GA 175 was decommissioned in the 1950's in Lanier County and is partially abandoned
  • GA 207
    • GA 207 is proposed to replace parts of GA 82, 98, and 211 between U.S. 29/GA 316 in Statham and GA 164 in Homer
    • GA 82 is a duplication of U.S. 82 and does not follow a logical route while GA 98 does not have a logical endpoint
    • It is proposed to follow existing GA 211 up to the intersection with GA 82 (proposed 330 extension), existing GA 82 to GA 82 Connector, GA 82 Connector to GA 98 in Maysville, and GA 98 to end at GA 164 in Homer
  • GA 210
    • GA 210 is proposed to replace the independent portion of GA 16 from U.S. 27 in Carrollton to GA 100 through Mount Zion
    • GA 210 was previously assigned to a small portion of what is currently GA 189 in Lookout Mountain
  • GA 222
    • GA 222 is proposed as a renumbering of all of existing GA 147
    • GA 222 was previously used on Jesse Cole Road in Meriwether County, a route decommissioned in 1986 that is not federal-aid eligible
    • The renumbering is necessary in order to move GA 147 onto current GA 56 between U.S. 280 in Reidsville and U.S. 221
  • GA 238
    • GA 238 is proposed as a renumbering of all of existing GA 84 in Gwinnett County
    • GA 84 duplicates U.S. 84 and is too short of a route to justify a major-sounding number
    • GA 238 was previously used on Glass Bridge Road in Troup County and was decommissioned in 1975 due to the route being severed by West Point Lake
  • GA 245
    • GA 245 is proposed as a renumbering of all of existing GA 185 in Charlton County due to duplication with I-185
    • GA 245 was previously used on existing GA 60 from Mineral Bluff to McCaysville and was decommissioned in 1977 when GA 60 was relocated
  • GA 258
    • GA 258 is proposed for what will be an orphaned portion of GA 520 from U.S. 17 to Jekyll Island
    • GA 258 was previously used in Troup County on what is now GA 54 from U.S. 29 in Hogansville to U.S. 27
  • GA 287
    • GA 287 is proposed to replace existing GA 87 from GA 117 south of Eastman to U.S. 280 east of Abbeville
    • This is due to the truncation of GA 87 to only this section as part of a removal of state overlaps, which is not a major enough route to justify a major-sounding route number
    • It is a potential turnback candidate with GA 117 becoming the only state route between the two cities
  • GA 295
    • GA 295 is proposed to replace the entire route of GA 95 in Walker County
    • GA 95 duplicates I-95 and is not a major enough route to justify a major-sounding number
    • GA 295 was previously used for a portion of what is now I-75 south of Atlanta and is not likely to be used as a 2di of I-95
  • GA 322
    • GA 322 is proposed to replace existing GA 86 that will be relocated onto an independent section of GA 19 between Soperton and Dublin
    • GA 322 was previously used on another portion of what is today GA 86 and was renumbered when GA 86 was extended
  • GA 344
    • GA 344 is proposed to replace existing GA 1 Loop in Rome that will need to be renumbered due to the elimination of GA 1 as an overlap of U.S. 27
    • GA 344 was previously used on U.S. 411 between Rome and Cartersville and was decommissioned in 1977 when GA 20 was relocated onto U.S. 411
    • The "Loop" designation is confusing/misleading, and the route has never been a complete loop for U.S. 27/GA 1
  • GA 346
    • GA 346 is the optional re-assignment for GA 82 (Holly Springs Road/Dry Pond Road) in lieu of 982 between GA 82 Connector and GA 323 in Hall and Jackson Counties
    • GA 346 was previously assigned to Pond Fork Church Road in Jackson County and ended into this route
    • This section of GA 82 proposed for GA 346 is also a turnback candidate
  • GA 349
    • GA 349 is the proposed re-assignment for GA 341 in Walker County
    • GA 341 is proposed for renumbering due to duplication with U.S. 341, both unique to the state
    • GA 349 previously followed Happy Valley Road from Flintstone to Rossville and was decommissioned in 1986 after completion of Battlefield Parkway/GA 2
    • The old route of GA 349 also could logically connect to the northern end of GA 341
  • GA 350
    • GA 350 is the proposed re-assignment to the Athens Perimeter
    • It was previously assigned to the northern part of the Athens Perimeter from U.S. 29/Atlanta Hwy to U.S. 441 in 1964, but was replaced with GA 8 when the route was completed to U.S. 29 (east)
    • It should be reassigned to replaced GA 10 Loop since GA 10 will be decommissioned as a state overlap of U.S. 78
    • GA 422 is not an acceptable replacement since 400 series overlaps are also proposed for removal in this plan
    • The designation is needed because the southwest quadrant is not assigned any other route number.
  • GA 359
    • GA 359 is the proposed re-assignment to GA 278 in Bleckley and Laurens County
    • Renumbering is due to duplication with U.S. 278
    • GA 359 was replaced with what is now GA 204 in Savannah after Abercorn Expressway was completed to I-95
    • The route is a turnback candidate due to lack of an interchange with I-16 and closely paralleling GA 26
  • GA 366
    • GA 366 is the proposed re-assignment to GA 378 in Gwinnett County
    • Renumbering is due to duplication with U.S. 378
    • GA 366 was replaced in the 1987 with what is now GA 77 in Hart County
  • GA 375
    • GA 375 is the proposed re-assignment to GA 301 in Dade County
    • Renumbering is due to duplication with U.S. 301
    • This number was deliberately chosen to relate with AL 75, which the route becomes south of GA 136
    • It was previously briefly assigned to what is now GA 39 from GA 27 in Georgetown to U.S. 27 north of Lumpkin
  • GA 901-982
    • These 900 series routes are proposed to replace bannered routes in many locations, especially U.S. routes stripped of state overlaps
    • Routes will not be detailed here

GA 30 being removed from U.S. 280 creates an opportunity to provide a better route number to tie into existing SC 170.  However, it is plain to also see that GA 30 (shown here as 170) west of GA 21 is not on the shortest and best route meaning that a relocation to Pooler Parkway might come later.  GA 925 is shown on the rest of what is currently GA 25 through Garden City, and another section that is currently GA 25 Connector would also be part of GA 925.  GA 167 is restored here to what is currently GA 17.

A confusing MESS of overlapped routes around Vidalia is greatly simplified here.  GA 29 is stripped from GA 15 making it one route.  Due to the elimination of the northern part of GA 135, GA 130 is rerouted onto present-day GA 135 and 292 and GA 297 is extended.  Along with the simplication of 15 and removal of 30 from U.S. 280, this makes the main intersection in Vidalia far less complicated.  Also note the relocation of GA 147 due to the truncation of GA 56 with the current route of GA 147 renumbered.  GA 31 pokes around the upper right on what is now confusing GA 129.  In addition, the useless GA 23 overlap is stripped off of GA 57 and 121.

Route renumberings in Gwinnett County and surrounding areas are far less exciting: all done as a way to eliminate U.S. and state highway duplication.  GA 50 is currently GA 20, GA 63 is currently GA 11, GA 238 is currently GA 84, and GA 366 is currently GA 378.  GA 910 in Monroe is what is currently GA 10 Business, the murky area where a business route refers to the state overlap and NOT the U.S. route.  If it cannot be made U.S. 78 Business, then the "old alignment" rule is the only logical solution. 


The idea behind GRIP corridors was to unify a long stretch of highway under one route number.  While this is not always a good idea, in a few cases it would actually benefit the public to consolidate roads under one route number.  However, in all of these cases any overlaps are not to follow the entire length of the route with any unnecessary overlaps decommissioned.  Here are the proposed new overlaps:

  1. GA 72/U.S. 72
    • If U.S. 72 is not approved as a route across North Georgia, extending GA 72 west to the Alabama border is another option
    • It would overlap U.S. 129, GA 20, I-75 and U.S. 27
    • It would replace most of GA 369, a portion of GA 140 west of I-75, and all of GA 48
  2. GA 88
    • This route would be extended along the entire eastern leg of the Fall Line Freeway from Macon to Augusta
    • It would replace GA 243, but would follow parts of GA 24, 57, and U.S. 1
    • It would extend from I-16 in Macon to I-520 in Augusta
  3. GA 96
    • GA 96 would be extended west from its current terminus at U.S. 80 to end at the Alabama state line joint with U.S. 80
  4. Other future changes from new U.S. routes
    • New proposed U.S. routes will result in overlaps and replacements of other state routes making other major route numbers available

The Fall Line Freeway will one day in the future be I-14, but for now the use of GA 540 obviously did not work and is discouraged due to the proposal here to eliminate the only two GRIP routes.  Thus, you have GA 57, 243, 24, and 88 all covering the route.  This is one case where an added overlap makes sense (GA 88), which would replaced all of 243 and otherwise overlap with parts of 24 (renumbered to 38 here due to I-24), 57, and U.S. 1 to create a single route from Macon to Augusta.  However, this should realistically become a new U.S. route of its own, such as U.S. 480.


The benefits of eliminating the state overlaps far outweigh the costs.  Yes, the initial cost and initial public confusion will be substantial.  Many things will commence with these changes:

  • The production of new signs or patches to cover existing signs
  • Posting "OLD/FORMER" banners when routes change
  • Public notices and in some cases meetings about the elimination of well known routes
  • Frustrated business owners having to change addresses in locations where the state route takes precedence (GA 87)
  • The field work required in removing, moving around and installing thousands of new signs.
  • Complex updates to interstate signs
  • The paperwork involved in decommissioning old routes and assigning new ones 

The thing is, at the end of this process Georgia motorists will enjoy a far simpler highway system like those in 46 other states enjoy with hopefully better, more frequent, and more consistent signage.  Roads that today carry 2-4 route designations for no particular reason will be pared down to 1-2 routes.  There will be no confusion about which route number to call a road by anymore on most highways.  It is 365 or 23?  It is 400 or 19?  Did you mean Georgia 27 or U.S. 27?  Those kinds of problems will no longer exist.  The state route number will be the same as the U.S. or interstate route number.  U.S. 27 will equal State Route 27.  I-75 will equal State Route 75.  U.S. 411 equals State Route 411.

Which road should I call it?  23 or 365?  Note that this needless duplication of GA 365 with U.S. 23 resulted in a far more expensive install than if this had just been U.S. 23.  Overlaps cannot always be avoided, but needless ones should be.  Imagine if the expense that went into this assembly had instead gone into larger directional guide signs.

At present, having so many road numbers makes emergency response more difficult, giving directions more complicated, and it costs a lot more to install and maintain.  When many routes are clustered together with state overlaps, more important routes may not be signed properly or at all.  At present, Georgia has already shown that posting all of these routes is becoming increasingly difficult to manage.  Just adding a by-pass results in a crazy cluster of new bannered routes such as "11 Connector" for parts of the Perry and Jefferson By-Passes.  It is not just an issue of unsigning them, either.  These routes appear on maps as well if they are not removed.  Tennessee does not sign their overlaps, but the highway system is still very confusing when they appear on maps, but not in the field.  They just should not be there at all.  Enough numbers are available to correct this problem.

In addition, eliminating the state overlaps will free up the lock that has existed for over 30 years on available numbers.  At present, state route numbers below 400 are running out, the 400 and 500 series are accounted for, and the 600 series are too high of a jump.  Eliminating these overlaps will free up the 400 and 500 series for proper system expansion and can hopefully begin the process of eliminating so many confusing bannered routes (SPUR, CONNECTOR, LOOP, etc.).  For example, GA 39 Connector is 16 miles long!  That is a highway of its own NOT a "connector".  Most states assign original route numbers to routes as often as possible.  The public does not always understand these banners, especially when the text is so small in the route signs or the route number refers to the lesser known state overlap.  Plus, the addition of the 900 series routes provides the logic to use higher route numbers.  If county/regional routes are also introduced, perhaps some can be assigned within that range as if they are state routes.  This will help bridge maintenance gaps to avoid other overlaps.

A few cases exist where state overlaps take precedence over their U.S. routes, but this is not a good thing.  Visitors to the state will not recognize this road as "400", and this duplication of routes is confusing.  Sure, "400" is a big part of North Georgia's history, but it's time to retire the designation given that it was supposed to play second fiddle to U.S. 19 from the start.  If we want a designation other than U.S. 19, then the freeway parts should be assigned as I-785.

If necessary, the process of removing state overlaps can be phased in.  Start with a couple U.S. routes per year and get the public used to the changes instead of doing it all at once statewide.  Make sure signage is in place showing the former route numbers for at least 1-2 years.  After the U.S. routes and state duplicates are done, move onto the interstate duplicates.  It can be a 10 year process to allow online mapping services to update effectively.  The public will initially grumble, but will ultimately notice signage that is simpler and more to the point.  If the process is followed like what is described and on more detailed maps that show every change, it will give Georgians much better state highway routes than they currently have today.


A far more detailed map showing all the changes needed to remove state overlaps is available, but it is too large to show here.  Clips from that map were included here to explain the more complex renumbering situations.  If interested, please inquire about the map and a copy will be sent to