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Interstate 185

Interstate 185 is a 49.30 mile long spur connecting the Atlanta metropolitan area with the city of Columbus (pop. 185,781). The freeway overall is rural between LaGrange and Columbus with surprising scenery along the way. In Columbus itself, the freeway resembles a typical urban freeway with sound barriers and tight quarters. A widening project in 1988 expanded the southern sections of the highway from four to six lanes. Interstate 185 continues into the Fort Benning military base as an unsigned four-lane freeway.

Future plans may see the extension of Interstate 185 northward to near Hogansville and possibly even further north to Rome via the U.S. 27 corridor. Another long idea surrounds the extension of the freeway southward to Tallahassee, Florida. Both of these concepts are just proposals at best.

The Columbus-Phenix City metropolitan area boasts 274,624 residents according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The Chattahoochee River bisects the area along the Alabama and Georgia state line. The southernmost 12 miles of Interstate 185 are situated within the city itself. Georgia 411 is the unsigned state designation applied to the entire 50-mile routing.

A look at the Columbus-Phenix City metropolitan area from above. The two major corridors to serve Columbus are Interstate 185 and U.S. 80 (J.R. Allen Parkway). The two freeways are visible to the north and east of the city centers. Photo taken 04/95.

Interstate 185 North
The first interchange of Interstate 185 is the Exit 1A/B cloverleaf with Victory Drive (U.S. 27-280 & Georgia 1-520). Pictured here is the Exit 1B guide sign for the northbound U.S. 27 and westbound U.S. 280 & Georgia 520 ramp. The central business district of Columbus is five miles to the northwest via the Exit 1B ramp. Photo taken 08/22/03.
A companion begin Interstate 185 is posted in the median of the Exit 1A/B cloverleaf interchange. The Interstate 185 Connector departs Fort Benning and officially becomes part of the Interstate system at Victory Drive. The connector itself begins three miles to the south. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The previously posted Exit 1B guide sign along Interstate 185 northbound. Two key differences exist between this guide sign and the one pictured above. The 1999 mileage based exit number conversion undertaken by GADOT shifts the number from Exit 1N to that of Exit 1S. Additionally Georgia 520 is omitted on newer guide signs for the Victory Drive interchange. Georgia 520 itself is a lengthy corridor between the Alabama state line and Jekyll Island on the coast. Officially the GRIP corridor is known as Corridor Z or the South Georgia Parkway.1 Photo taken 10/15/99.
Six lanes of Interstate 185 shoot through the Exit 3 diamond interchange at Saint Mary's Road. This is the second of nine interchanges to serve the Columbus metropolitan area. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Attached to the Saint Mary's Road overpass is the one-mile guide sign for Exit 4. Note also that the left-lane of Interstate 185 features a ban on all truck traffic. This concept is somewhat common along six lane freeways in both Georgia and South Carolina. Photo taken 08/22/03.
One half mile south of the diamond interchange with Buena Vista Road. This surface arterial serves the Brookhaven, Englewood, and Linden sections of the city. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The first of several centerline upcoming exits signs posted along Interstate 185 northbound in Columbus. These California style signs have made their debuts in several eastern and midwestern states through the years. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The fourth interchange of Interstate 185 northbound serves Georgia 22 Spur (Macon Road). This highway composes the original U.S. 80 alignment through the city of Columbus. The number derives from the U.S. 80 counterpart of Georgia 22. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Upcoming exits sign for interchanges 6, 7, and 8. Alternate U.S. 27 ahead is a primary arterial between central Columbus and the northeastern suburbs. Known as the Manchester Expressway, U.S. 27A is highly commercialized near Interstate 185. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 continues to snake northward through residential areas of east central Columbus. The entire six-lane portion of freeway is lined with sound barriers due to the close proximity to homes and businesses. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Exit 6 traffic for Georgia Spur 22 departs Interstate 185 northbound. This diamond interchange is sandwiched between the Wynnton and Edgewood communities of the city. Georgia Spur 22 itself ends in downtown. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 curves northward after departing the Exit 6 diamond interchange. Ahead is partial cloverleaf of Exit 7 with U.S. 27 Alternate & Georgia 85. Photo taken 08/22/03.
One-half mile guide sign for Exit 7A (U.S. 27A & Georgia 85 north). Exit 7 allows motorists two routes into downtown. U.S. 27 travels into downtown from the north via the Manchester Expressway and Veterans Parkway. Nearby Warm Springs Road (accessible from Exit 7B) departs U.S. 27A southwestward toward the central business district from the east. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Crossing over the Manchester Expressway on Interstate 185 at the Exit 7B cloverleaf ramp for U.S. 27 Alternate & Georgia 85 southbound. Photo taken 08/22/03.
An auxiliary lane adds onto Interstate 185 northbound between Exit 7 and the Exit 8 diamond interchange at Columbus Metropolitan Airport. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The Exit 7 interchange resides at the junctions of Airport Thruway and Armour Road on the northwest side of the airport. These two roads connect with U.S. 27 (Veterans Parkway) to the west and north, giving Interstate 185 motorists the opportunity to access the federal highway. Photo taken 08/22/03.
1.50 mile overhead for the Exit 10 cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 80 & Georgia 22. Since there is no access to U.S. 27 directly, traffic to the highway is directed via U.S. 80 & Georgia 22 eastbound via Exit 10A. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Nearing the junction with U.S. 80 & Georgia 22 (J.R. Allen Parkway) on Interstate 185 northbound at the Veterans Parkway (U.S. 27) overpass. U.S. 80 exists as a freeway between Phenix City, Alabama (U.S. 280 & 431) eastward to Flat Rock (U.S. 27 Alternate). Photo taken 08/22/03.
A collector/distributor roadway is in place for all directions of travel within the Interstate 185 & U.S. 80 cloverleaf interchange. Pictured here is the Exit 10 sign bridge for the c/d roadway beginning. Note also that Georgia 1, U.S. 27's counterpart, is acknowledged for the first time. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Unsigned Exit 10A for U.S. 80 & Georgia 22 eastbound. Traffic that utilizes this ramp will not directly enter the J.R. Allen Parkway mainline. Instead a collector/distributor roadway facilitates the eastern movement through to the Moon Road diamond interchange. This same roadway allows travelers access to U.S. 27 & Georgia 1 (Veterans Parkway). Photo taken 08/22/03.
The Exit 10 c/d roadway northbound at the U.S. 80 & Georgia 22 westbound cloverleaf ramp. U.S. 80 is part of the greater High Priority Corridor 6. HPC 6 includes U.S. 80 from Meridian, MS eastward to Savannah, GA. Six miles to the west lies the control point of Phenix City, Alabama. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 reduces from six to four lanes at Williams Road (Exit 12). At the upcoming diamond interchange is the Columbus area Welcome Center. Williams Road becomes Moon Road southeastward at U.S. 27. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Now in Harris County, Interstate 185 approaches the Exit 19 off-ramp to Georgia 315. Georgia 315 is a rural highway between Georgia 219 and U.S. 27. The two lane road serves the community of Mulberry Grove to the east. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Some of the scenery Interstate 185 encounters on the the trek between Exits 19 and 25. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Exit 26 of Interstate 185 serves the east-west Georgia 116. This state highway travels between Georgia 219 and U.S. 27. The village of Hamilton (pop. 307) is situated nine miles to the east. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The fourth and final interchange of Interstate 185 north within Harris County is Exit 34. Featured at this interchange is the junction with Georgia 18, an east-west highway between West Point (pop. 3,382), Jones Crossroads, and Pine Mountain (pop. 1,141). Photo taken 08/22/03.
Entering the final two mile stretch of Interstate 185 between Exit 48 and Interstate 85. Pictured here is the first guide sign for the unsigned Exit 50 of the northern terminus. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 enters the final mile northbound to the east of LaGrange (pop. 25,998). The city of Atlanta and junction with Interstate 285 is 47 miles to the northeast. Interstate 85 travels southwest 21 miles to the Alabama state line at West Point. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 85 southbound overhead at the Georgia 109 (Greenville Road) overpass. An empty sign bracket stems from an abandoned proposal to extend Interstate 185 northward from Interstate 85 to U.S. 29 at Newnan (pop. 16,242). Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 end shield, posted along the northbound transition ramp to Interstate 85. A freeway stub at the beginning of Interstate 185 southbound and a wide shoulder at the northbound gore point for the Interstate 85 southbound ramp are additional remnants of the Interstate 185 extension proposal. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 South
The final off-ramp of Interstate 185 southbound is the Exit 1A cloverleaf loop for U.S. 27 south & U.S. 280/Georgia 520 eastbound (Victory Drive). These overlapped highways link Columbus metro to points east and south. U.S. 27 is the main highway through southwest Georgia traveling to Bainbridge (pop. 11,722) and Tallahassee, Florida. U.S. 280 and Georgia 520 branch southeastward from U.S. 27 at the town of Cusseta (pop. 1,196). Georgia 520 continues with U.S. 280 through to Americus (pop. 17,013) and U.S. 19. There the South Georgia Parkway overlaps with U.S. 19 southward into Albany (pop. 76,939). Photo taken 08/22/03.
A supplemental sign joins the median placed Interstate 185 end shield at the Victory Drive overpasses. While Interstate 185 officially ends at this interchange, the freeway itself continues another three miles into Fort Benning. Two forthcoming interchanges serve Custer and First Division Roads. Photo taken 08/22/03.
A second Interstate 185 end shield is posted to the right of the freeway mainline at Victory Drive. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Scenes Related to Interstate 185
Interstate 185 as seen from the Exit 12 overpass of Williams Road. The north-south freeway becomes rural in nature from this junction northward to Interstate 85 and the city of LaGrange. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Interstate 185 Georgia shield, posted on Upper Big Springs Road eastbound for the Exit 48 diamond interchange. This east-west roadway links the Columbus freeway spur with nearby LaGrange (pop. 25,998). Photo taken 10/04/01.
Upper Springs Road eastbound at the Interstate 185 southbound on-ramp of Exit 48. There is no direct access between this rural road and Interstate 85 to the west. Photo taken 10/04/01.
The northbound on-ramp to Interstate 185 as it appears along Upper Springs Road eastbound. Two miles to the north is the Interstate 185 merge onto Interstate 85. There are no state named Interstate 185 shields along the freeway mainline. Those to be found with the state name are located at only the interchanges. Photo taken 10/04/01.

Sources:
1 - Steve Williams.

Page Updated January 2, 2004.