Truman Parkway (Savannah)
Truman Parkway is a freeway running north from Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street) to President Street in the city of Savannah. Originally dubbed the Casey Canal Parkway, due to the parallel waterway, the future highway was renamed after former President Harry S. Truman in the early 1970s after his death in 1972.1 The Truman Parkway is not part of the Georgia state highway system, nor is it planned as an Interstate highway. Instead the freeway is one of a handful of county maintained facilities within the Peach State. The Ronald Reagan Parkway east of Atlanta and Veterans Parkway in Savannah are the other two county freeways in Georgia.
Planning for the Truman Parkway dates back toward the mid 20th century as part of Savannah's overall arterial plan. The Casey Canal Parkway was originally envisioned to join downtown with the south side to augment existing roadways. Design work commenced in the 1980s for a four-lane at-grade arterial.1 However residents objected to that and indicated a preference for a freeway. So designers upgraded their plans so that the Harry S. Truman Parkway would be a full freeway. Road work began on Phase I in April 1990 and Phase II in August 1994.2
Phase I (President Street south to Henry Street) and Phase II (Henry Street south to DeRenne Avenue) opened to traffic in June 1993 and June 1997 respectively.2 Issues arose with the construction of Phases III (DeRenne Avenue south to Montgomery Cross Road) and Phase IV (Montgomery Cross Road to Whitfield Avenue) surrounding environmental, social, and political impacts. Extreme considerations where made along the path of the Truman Parkway in southeast Savannah due to numerous new developments along the route, the location of the Bacon Park Golf Course and a regional hospital, the clean-up involved with a lead-contaminated landfill, and displacement of environmentally sensitive wetlands.1 Designers took into account all considerations and the corridor selected minimized or augmented the aforementioned issues.
Construction on Phase III (DeRenne Avenue to Montgomery Crossroad) started in January 2000. Delays due to lawsuits and community opposition to the Montgomery Crossroad interchange design resulted in the split of the phase, with the DeRenne to Eisenhower Drive section open on March 19, 2004 and the remaining stretch south to Montgomery Crossroad completed on November 11, 2004. Phase III cost $27 million in federal, state and local tax money.2,3 with Phase IV opening on September 22, 2005 at a cost of $16 million.3 The completion of these segments gave north-south travelers a seamless route from the Sandfly and Isle of Hope communities northward to downtown Savannah by way of President Street.
Work began on Phase V in March 2010.4 Extending the parkway west from Georgia 204 Spur (Whitfield Avenue) to Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street Extension) near Holland Avenue, Phase V was deemed complete during a ribbon cutting ceremony held on February 28, 2014. The $128-million4 phase includes the Vernon River bridge, one of three sets of spans along the 2.08 mile segment. Opening of Phase V to traffic followed on March 14, 2014.5
|Truman Parkway north|
|Travelers merging onto the Truman Parkway northbound from Montgomery Cross Road enter the freeway via the Exit 5 auxiliary lane for Eisenhower Drive. Eisenhower Drive constitutes an east-west arterial between Truman Parkway and White Bluff Road. The road serves residential interests west to Waters Avenue and commercial interests from there to Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street). Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Northbound at the Exit 5 partial-cloverleaf interchange with Eisenhower Drive. Eisenhower Drive transitions into Belmont Drive just east of the freeway at Skidaway Road. The Bacon Park Golf Course and Lake Meyer Park lie west of the freeway along Eisenhower Drive ahead of the Highland Park neighborhood and Waters Avenue. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Next in line for northbound travelers is the Exit 7 diamond interchange with DeRenne Avenue. DeRenne Avenue constitutes a busy east-west arterial for the city of Savannah. The four to six lane divided highway stems east from Interstate 516 (Lynes Parkway) at Montgomery Street to Waters Avenue and Truman Parkway. East of the Truman Parkway, DeRenne Avenue serves the communities of Magnolia Park, Forrest Hills, and Bona Bella. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|One half mile south of the DeRenne Avenue off-ramp on Truman Parkway north. Sound walls buffer the freeway from the adjacent Magnolia Park neighborhood. DeRenne Avenue provides a direct link to Interstate 516 west for junction Interstate 16 to Interstate 95, Pooler, and Macon. Hunter Army Airfield interests should use DeRenne Avenue west to Montgomery Street south / Duncan Drive west. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Truman Parkway northbound at the Exit 7 off-ramp to DeRenne Avenue. DeRenne Avenue upgrades to Georgia 21 west of its intersection with Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street) in 1.2 miles. Georgia 21 travels west to the transition to Interstate 516 and north from there on the freeway to Garden City and Port Wentworth. DeRenne Avenue is extremely busy between Waters Avenue and Montgomery Street. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Continuing northbound toward the DeLesseps Avenue folded-diamond interchange. Reuben Clark Drive passes over the Truman Parkway in this scene. Reuben Clark Drive was built with the Truman Parkway to join DeRenne Avenue and the Memorial Health University Hospital. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Exit 8 departs Truman Parkway northbound at the DeLesseps Avenue over crossing. DeLesseps Avenue joins the freeway with Waters Avenue and the Fairfield and Edgemere neighborhoods to the west. DeLesseps Avenue transitions into Laroche Avenue at the Fleetwood community to the east. Use Laroche Avenue south for Savannah State University. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|East 52nd Street passes over the Truman Parkway between DeLesseps Avenue and U.S. 80 (Victory Drive). The Casey Canal parallels the freeway closely through this stretch. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|U.S. 80 (Victory Drive) intersects the Truman Parkway between Daffin Park and Victory Heights in east Savannah. Victory Drive comprises a four to six-lane surface arterial from Savannah east to Thunderbolt and the Wilmington River. U.S. 80 provides the only route to Tybee Island (Savannah Beach) from White Marsh Island east of the river. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Use U.S. 80 (Victory Drive) eastbound for the Fort Pulaski National Monument. The monument encompasses Cockspur and McQueens Islands along the Savannah River. The highlight of the monument includes Fort Pulaski, a Civil War era fort on Cockspur Island between the North and South Channels of the Savannah River. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|This sign bridge highlights the final three off-ramps of the Truman Parkway northbound. Departing here is Exit 9 for U.S. 80 (Victory Drive). U.S. 80 & Georgia 26 enter the incorporated town of Thunderbolt nearby before crossing the Wilmington River onto White Marsh Island. U.S. 80 (Saffold Drive) continues east to Johnny Mercer Drive (former Georgia 369) and Wilmington Island. Tybee Island, formerly known as Savannah Beach, is the barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean where U.S. 80 ends. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Looking east at the four-lane divided Victory Drive from the Truman Parkway above. A diamond interchange joins the two highways amid a commercialized area. U.S. 80 & Georgia 26 are tree lined along the two-mile drive to junction Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street). Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|A split-diamond interchange serves the east-west streets of Anderson, Henry, and Wheaton Streets at the Gordonston community of east Savannah. A frontage road departs via Exit 10 and intersects Anderson Street east and Henry Street west. The northbound on-ramp rejoins the freeway north of Henry Street. Wheaton Street passes under Truman Parkway north of there between Skidaway Road and the north end of Waters Avenue. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|The final exit of Truman Parkway northbound joins the freeway with President Street three quarters of a mile east of downtown Savannah. Truman Parkway elevates on a four-lane viaduct from Wheaton Street north to the end. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Truman Parkway southbound at the Exit 9 diamond interchange with U.S. 80 (Victory Drive). Victory Drive constitutes the main east-west arterial between Savannah and the eastern suburbs. The federal highway is heavily commercialized within the vicinity of Truman Parkway and represents a major commuting corridor throughout Savannah and Thunderbolt. U.S. 80 continues east from Thunderbolt toward Wilmington and Tybee Islands (Savannah Beach). Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Continuing south on the Truman Parkway toward the Exit 8 folded-diamond interchange with DeLesseps Avenue. DeLesseps Avenue joins the four-lane freeway with Waters Avenue in the Edgemere and Fairfield neighborhoods to the west. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Southbound at the Exit 8 ramp departure to DeLesseps Avenue. DeLesseps Avenue travels east from Waters Avenue 1.1 miles to Laroche Avenue at the Fleetwood neighborhood of Savannah. Laroche Avenue continues the road southeast toward Skidaway Road and Savannah State University. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Next in line for southbound motorists is the Exit 7 diamond interchange with DeRenne Avenue. DeRenne Avenue constitutes a major east-west surface arterial through central Savannah. The four to six lane divided highway stems east from Interstate 516 (Lynes Parkway) to junction Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street), Waters Avenue, Truman Parkway, and Skidaway Road. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|The Casey Canal parallels the Truman Parkway closely ahead of the Exit 7 off-ramp to DeRenne Avenue. Signs for DeRenne Avenue tout the connections to Interstates 516 and 16 and Hunter Army Airfield (via Duncan Drive south). The arterial does not become part of Georgia 21 until west of Abercorn Street (Georgia 204). East of Truman Parkway, DeRenne Avenue peters out as a residential avenue on the 1.3 mile drive to Laroche and Bismark Avenues. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Eisenhower Drive intersects Truman Parkway at the Exit 5 partial-cloverleaf interchange next. Eisenhower Drive travels 2.4 miles west from Skidaway Road to White Bluff Road at the boundary of Hunter Army Airfield. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Sound barriers screen out the adjacent Magnolia Park park neighborhood on Truman Parkway one half mile north of Eisenhower Drive. Eisenhower Drive comprises a busy surface arterial within the vicinity of Olgethorpe Mall and the commercialized corridor of Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street). The east-west road maintains four lanes out to Truman Parkway. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Truman Parkway southbound at the Eisenhower Drive (Exit 5) ramp departure. Eisenhower Drive transitions into Beaumont Drive east of Skidaway Road at a residential area. The Bacon Park Golf Course and Lake Meyer Park reside just west of the freeway. Eisenhower Drive gains in importance between Waters Avenue and Abercorn Street (Georgia 204). Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Continuing south toward the Exit 4 diamond interchange with Montgomery Cross Road. Montgomery Cross Road represents the southern boundary of the Savannah city limits between Skidaway Road and the Honey Creek. The east-west road was upgraded from a two-lane roadway between Waters Avenue and Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street) into a five-lane surface arterial in the 1980s. Widening of the roadway east of Waters Avenue to Truman Parkway followed by the April 2004 opening of Phase III. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|At the time of this photograph, Phase IV had yet to open. Therefore all traffic defaulted onto the Montgomery Cross Road off-ramp (Exit 4). Montgomery Cross Road ends at the Sandfly community just east of the Truman Parkway. The road increases in traffic as one heads west toward Waters Avenue and the commercialized area surrounding Hodgson Memorial Drive and Georgia 204. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Descending along the Montgomery Cross Road off-ramp from Truman Parkway south. A Georgia 204 trailblazer directs motorists onto westbound for Abercorn Street. Montgomery Cross Road upgrades to Georgia 204 Spur from between Waters Avenue and Abercorn Street. Georgia 204 Spur was christened in 1991 to join Savannah with Skidaway Island and its State Park. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Scenes Pertaining to Truman Parkway|
|Georgia 204 Spur (Whitfield Avenue) westbound on the approach to the Truman Parkway diamond interchange near Whitfield. Georgia 204 Spur follows Diamond Causeway west from Skidaway Island to Whitfield Avenue and Waters Avenue in Savannah. Phase IV of the Truman Parkway opened in Summer 2005 between Whitfield Avenue and Montgomery Cross Road. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|A partial-diamond interchange joins Georgia 204 Spur (Whitfield Avenue) with Truman Parkway at the present time. A stub end on the Truman Parkway awaits the Phase V extension west to Georgia 204 (Abercorn Street) on the South Side of Savannah. Completion of the two-mile link involves the completion of a high level bridge over the navigable Vernon River. The Vernon River flows south from Honey Creek into Green Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Span wires await traffic lights to govern the movements between Georgia 204 (Whitfield Avenue) westbound and the Truman Parkway southbound off-ramp. Truman Parkway will meet Georgia 204 at its westward turn at Holland Road. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|The widening of Georgia 204 Spur (Whitfield Avenue) encompasses the approaches to the Truman Parkway diamond interchange (Exit 2). Pictured here is Whitfield Avenue westbound as it leaves the interchange near Hess Elementary School. Georgia 204 Spur (Waters Avenue) crosses the Vernon River after its split with Whitfield Avenue and before the turn onto Montgomery Cross Road west. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Montgomery Cross Road eastbound enters the diamond interchange with Truman Parkway. A pair of turn lanes serve the northbound on-ramp to Truman Parkway for downtown Savannah and Thunderbolt. Note the GADOT standard span wire supported guide signs. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|A look at the Truman Parkway southbound off-ramp traffic light on Montgomery Cross Road eastbound. The southbound on-ramp opened shortly after this photo was taken to extend the parkway southward to Georgia 204 Spur (Whitfield Avenue). Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Montgomery Cross Road used to be a sleepy affair east of Waters Avenue. The completion of the Truman Parkway and growth along the corridor between South Side Savannah and Sandfly mandated a widening and the installation of several traffic lights. In view here is the Truman Parkway northbound ramp departure and signals with Varnedoe Drive and Skidaway Road. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|President Street eastbound on the approach to the Truman Parkway north end interchange. President Street represents the original corridor of U.S. 80 Toll between Bay Street in downtown Savannah east to the Islands Expressway and Oatland Island. The designation was retired in the 1980s when tolls along the Islands Expressway, a two-lane surface highway, were removed. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|A small guide sign directs motorists onto Truman Parkway southbound from President Street eastbound. The county maintaining of the Truman Parkway relegates route markers to substandard specifications. Therefore small signs such as this area placed in lieu of a standard route marker. A loop ramp facilitates the movements onto Truman Parkway southbound ahead. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|President Street crosses the Seaboard Coast Railroad line ahead of the signalized intersection with the Truman Parkway southbound on-ramp. Truman Parkway meanders southward toward U.S. 80 (Victory Drive) and DeRenne Avenue in east Savannah. The President Street Extension / Islands Expressway continues east 2.5 miles to the Wilmington River crossing and 4.5 miles to junction U.S. 80 on White Marsh Island. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|Northbound drivers on the Truman Parkway meet President Street via a partial-cloverleaf interchange east of downtown Savannah. Westbound travelers loop onto the four-lane divided highway ahead of the Truman Parkway over crossing. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
|A second loop ramp departs President Street westbound for Truman Parkway southbound. President Street splits with General McIntosh Boulevard in one half mile. McIntosh Boulevard veers northwest, joining President Street with Bay Street at downtown Savannah. President Street meanwhile stems west to Broad Street on the edge of downtown. Original U.S. 80 Toll followed Bay Street. Photo taken 05/29/05.|
- "HST Parkway in Savannah - An Engineer's Biggest Challenge!" American Society of Highway Engineers: Scanner Magazine, March 3, 2004.
- "TRUMAN OPENS TODAY - SANDFLY RESIDENTS HAD FOUGHT THE MONTGOMERY CROSSROAD INTERCHANGE THAT WILL DUMP TRAFFIC INTO THEIR COMMUNITY." Savannah Morning News, November 11, 2004.
- "NEW TRUMAN PARKWAY SECTION TO OPEN - RESIDENTS ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE WHITFIELD ROAD WIDENING PROJECT." Savannah Morning News, September 6, 2005.
- "TRUMAN PARKWAY FINISHED - ALMOST\ FREEWAY PROJECT CONCEIVED NEARLY 90 YEARS AGO EXPECTED TO OPEN IN MARCH." Savannah Morning News, March 1, 2014.
- "TRUMAN PARKWAY EXTENSION OPEN - FINALLY." Savannah Morning News, March 15, 2014.
Page Updated July 8, 2014.