Georgia 13 - Northeast Expressway (Former Interstate 85)

Georgia 13 follows the original Northeast Expressway from U.S. 19 and Georgia 9 to Interstate 85 Exits 86 and 87. It continues on a northeasterly trajectory toward Gainesville, cosigned with U.S. 23 for much of its route. The most prominent section of Georgia 13 may be the four-lane old Northeast Expressway, which is a freeway segment leading northeast from downtown Atlanta. The old Northeast Expressway represents the original Interstate 85 alignment through northeast Atlanta, which has since been replaced by a new Interstate 85/Northeast Expressway. The highway features a narrow suppressed freeway alongside the northbound lanes of Interstate 85. Original button copy signs were not replaced during the 1999-2000 resigning project of Georgia's Interstates, but these non-reflectorized signs were replaced on September 17, 2003.1 Most of the pictures below represent the older, non-reflective, button-copy signs.

Since Georgia 13 is not the preferred route compared to Interstate 85, it is not easily accessed from Atlanta's freeway system. In fact, accessing Georgia 13 from Interstate 75-85 northbound is a difficult endeavor. There is no direct ramp between the two highways, and signage does not mention which street connects from Interstate 75-85 to Georgia 13. So, even though the southern terminus of Georgia 13 is located only a few blocks east of the Interstate 75-85 split, there is no direct connection from the Interstate to this vintage freeway. However, a ramp to Georgia 13 northbound is provided via Interstate 85 one mile north of the split with Interstate 75. Designated Exit 86, this northbound ramp ties into Georgia 13 just ahead of the Monroe Drive & Piedmont Road interchange. Additionally ramps from U.S. 19 and Georgia 9 (Spring & Peachtree Streets) to Georgia 13 are located to the east of the Interstate 75 & 85 trumpet interchange. Motorists wishing to access Georgia 13 southbound from Interstate 85 are offered a direct ramp via Exit 86. The ramp joins Georgia 13 just north of the Armour Drive off-ramp.

Georgia 13 North
The northbound beginning of Georgia 13 from the Spring Street (U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 northbound) on-ramp. Spring Street is a three lane northbound only arterial from downtown Atlanta to Peachtree Street. One block to the north of the old Northeast Expressway on-ramp, Spring and Peachtree Streets merge to continue U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 across both Georgia 13 and Interstate 85 into north Atlanta. Photo taken 01/17/04.
The northbound lanes of Georgia 13 snake their way to the west, paralleling Interstate 85 as it departs Interstate 75 nearby. Pictured here is the U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 (Peachtree Street) overcrossing and one-mile overhead for Exit 86 of Interstate 85. The Georgia 13 off-ramp of Interstate 85 enters the old Northeast Expressway before Monroe Drive off-ramp. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Georgia 13 sees two northbound beginnings from U.S. 19 and Georgia 9 east of the Interstate 75-85 northbound split. The second (northern) ramp departs U.S. 19 and Georgia 9 (Peachtree Street) from the Brookwood Hills Historic District closer to Interstate 85. This photograph reveals the northern on-ramp to Georgia 13. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The first northbound Georgia 13 shield posted after the merge of the northern on-ramp onto the ramp from the south. Georgia 13 carries four lanes northward along the old Northeast Expressway. The Interstate 85 mainline is highly visible from the Expressway. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Georgia 13 occupies a narrow right-of-way between Interstate 85 and the Peachtree Creek. The first interchange of the freeway serves Georgia 237 (Piedmont Road). Traffic onto Georgia 237 southbound utilizes Monroe Drive to access the north-south route. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Results of the September 2003 sign replacement project see new sign bridges and retroreflective overheads for Georgia 13 northbound. The change in signs confirms the truncation of Georgia 237 to the Georgia 13 interchange with Piedmont Road. Photo taken 01/17/04.
The substandard nature and age of the original Northeast Expressway is evident in this northbound scene. Crossing the freeway above are a pair of abandoned railroad overpasses. The construction of adjacent Interstate 85 eliminated these two railroad crossings and thus left them to rot. Photo taken 08/22/03.
A new one-half mile sign bridge for the Monroe Drive & Piedmont Road (Georgia 237 north) interchange is posted before the Interstate 85 Exit 86 overpass onto Georgia 13 northbound. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Original button copy overheads that were posted at the Monroe Drive off-ramp of Georgia 13 northbound. The removal of the Georgia 237 shield from the right-hand panel implies that the highway south of Georgia 13 was legislatively decommissioned. Photo taken 08/22/03.
A cloverleaf ramp facilitates the movements onto Georgia 237 (Piedmont Road) northbound from Georgia 13 northbound. Piedmont Road is a primary surface arterial between central Atlanta and the Buckhead section of the city. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Entering the confluence of Georgia 13, Interstate 85, and Georgia Toll 400. To the left is the flyover ramp to Georgia Toll 400 northbound from Interstate 85 north. The middle ramp carries Exit 86 traffic onto Georgia 13 south from Interstate 85 south. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The old Northeast Expressway draws to a close at the Interstate 85 northbound on-ramp. Georgia 13 enters a surface boulevard (Buford Highway) to the left. A small guide sign directs motorists toward Georgia Toll 400 via Sidney Marcus Boulevard. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Georgia 13 descends under Interstate 85 before intersecting Sidney Marcus Boulevard and the Buford Highway. Traffic turning left ahead can access Georgia Toll 400 via the Exit 1 northbound on-ramp two blocks to the west. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Georgia 13 South
Georgia 13 southbound sees three off-ramps along the old Northeast Expressway. The first departs for Armour Drive. The second features a direct ramp onto Interstate 85 southbound ahead of the merge with Interstate 75 southbound. The ramp allows motorists to access Interstate 85 just before the new 17th Street bridge off-ramp of Exit 85. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Southbound Georgia 13 reassurance shield, posted at the first of two abandoned railroad overpasses. The idle bridges once linked railroad lines to the north. These were severed with the construction of the wide Interstate 85 nearby. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Traffic to Interstate 85 & 75 southbound departs Georgia 13 in this scene. The ramp itself dives underneath the pervasive freeway above, tying in just before the Interstate 85 & 75 trumpet interchange merge. Ahead Georgia 13 splits between Peachtree Street (U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 southbound) one block east of Spring Street. The third southbound interchange composes the southern terminus of the state highway. Photo taken 01/17/04.

1 - Cline, Stanley. "GA 13 BGS replacement has begun." Online posting, misc.transport.road, September 17, 2003.

Page Updated January 27, 2004

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