Georgia 10

Georgia 10 begins in the heart of Atlanta, at a stack interchange at Interstates 75-85 Exit 248D. Following the route of dead Interstate 485 before turning northeast on the Freedom Parkway, Georgia 10 turns east on U.S. 78 to leave the Atlanta metropolitan area. Georgia 10 departs U.S. 78 east of the Stone Mountain Freeway at Snellville, then follows a divided highway on its own east to Athens via Monroe. From Athens east to Augusta, Georgia is cosigned as the underlying state route with U.S. 78.

Perhaps the most prominent section of Georgia 10 is the stub freeway and parkway extending from Interstates 75-85 east toward the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center. Although Georgia 10 is a major traffic collector through downtown Atlanta, it carries an infamous past as part of the controversial and now-cancelled Interstate 485 freeway project through central Atlanta.

Unconstructed Interstate 485

To understand the nature of the Georgia 10/Freedom Parkway boulevard in downtown Atlanta, a little history of the freeway segment is necessary. Georgia 10 is a remnant of a grand proposal to construct an east-west freeway between Interstates 75-85 in downtown Atlanta east to join Interstate 285 (beltway) at Exits 39A-B in Clarkston. This route was never built, but two segments remain from the original freeway proposal: the Georgia 10 boulevard east of Interstates 75-85 and the U.S. 78 Stone Mountain Freeway in Clarkston. AASHTO approved Interstate 485 for the loop on June 30, 1970

The Georgia 10 segment was initially constructed in the 1960s and was to be designated as Interstate 485/Georgia 410 (most Interstates in Georgia have a Georgia 4xx hidden designation). As the freeway construction marched eastward, communities rose in protest to this new corridor cutting through their neighborhoods. The protest reached a fever pitch when construction began during Governor Jimmy Carter's tenure in Georgia. Governor Carter let a construction contract to extend Georgia 410/Interstate 485 east; however, residents protested by chaining themselves to construction equipment associated with the roadwork. This protest resulted in the end of the freeway construction, and Interstate 485 was scuttled. A final administrative change was to renumber the route from Georgia 410 to Georgia 10, thus ending any consideration for this corridor as part of the Interstate Highway System. Remnants of this incomplete construction is still visible today; an embankment for the freeway was constructed near the intersection of U.S. 23/Moreland Avenue and North Avenue.1

Interstate 485 was officially eliminated by AASHTO on June 17, 1975. The only portion of Interstate 485 ever to open to traffic is the stack interchange with Interstates 75-85. Originally signed as Georgia 410, the highway was renumbered to Georgia 10 to coincide with the construction of Freedom Parkway. This at-grade boulevard extends eastward from the exchange with Interstates 75-85 stack to U.S. 29-78-278 (Ponce De Leon Avenue). Georgia 10 then continues east along side U.S. 78 throughout eastern Georgia. Within the Atlanta metropolitan area, Georgia 10 travels Memorial Drive and the Stone Mountain Bypass westward to U.S. 278. The western terminus occurs at the Interstates 75-85 stack interchange.

Interstate 485 was considered as the designation for a total of three separate freeway corridors in metropolitan Atlanta at various intervals. None of these were ever constructed in their entirety. The three corridors considered for Interstate 485 were found in various municipal planning documents. The routing of Interstate 485 changed as a result of the cancellation of Interstate 475 and Interstate 675 through the city of Atlanta and are listed in chronological order:

  1. Georgia 410 Corridor - from Interstates 75-85 eastward to Interstate 285. The western quarter of the Stone Mountain Freeway (U.S. 78) was included in this particular alignment.
  2. Western Georgia 410 Corridor Only - from Interstates 75-85 eastward to a never built Interstate 675 extension (planned even earlier as Interstate 475).
  3. Combination Western Georgia 410/Northern Georgia 400 Corridor - from Interstates 75-85 eastward on an arc to Interstate 85 near the south end of current Georgia Toll 400.

After the third and final permutation of Interstate 485, the aforementioned community opposition resulted in the freeway being downgraded to a parkway between downtown and U.S. 29-78-278 & U.S. 23 (via Georgia Spur 42), and it never was constructed between U.S. 29-78-278 and Interstate 85/Toll Georgia 400.

Georgia 10 east
Three ramps feed into Georgia 10 eastbound from Interstates 75-85 and downtown (via Ellis Street). The high-speed ramps quickly drop motorists ahead of a signalized intersection with the Boulevard. Georgia 10 continues as Freedom Parkway through this traffic light. Photo taken 08/22/03.
East of the signalized intersection with the Boulevard, Freedom Parkway gains freeway type characteristics in the form of access control and overpasses. Displayed in this photograph is the Glen Iris Drive and Highland Avenue overpasses. These local streets intersect nearby and thus receive their own over crossings of Georgia 10 below. Note the artwork featured on the overpasses themselves. It should be mentioned that the original segment of completed Interstate 485 featured a partial interchange with Boulevard and Glen Iris Drive. The junction with Boulevard was replaced with a signalized intersection during the 1990s creation of Freedom Parkway along the unused Interstate 485 path.2 Photo taken 01/17/04.
Passing a pedestrian overpass near the junction with Georgia Spur 42 on Georgia 10 eastbound. Ahead Georgia 10 turns northward to Ponce De Leon Avenue (U.S. 29-78-278). Georgia Spur 42 continues Freedom Parkway eastward to U.S. 23 & Georgia 42. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Georgia 10 west
End Georgia 10 shield, posted before the Jackson Street overpass between Boulevard and Interstates 75-85. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The SR 10 mainline defaults onto Interstates 75-85 southbound with the control cities of Macon and Montgomery. Two other ramps continue to the right for Interstates 75-85 northbound and Andrew Young International Boulevard westbound. Photo taken 08/22/03.
A high flyover shuttles motorists from SR 10 west to Interstates 75 & 85 (Downtown Connector) south. Photo taken 08/22/03.
The partition of the Interstates 75-85 northbound ramp from the beginning of Andrew Young International Boulevard. International Boulevard forms a westbound only surface arterial through the heart of downtown Atlanta. Interstates 75-85 north share pavement for another three miles before parting ways. Photo taken 08/22/03.

Georgia 42 Spur - Planned Interstate 485

An eastern branch of Freedom Parkway connects Georgia 10 with U.S. 23 (Moreland Avenue) along the original right-of-way of Georgia 410/Interstate 485. The short connector features a grassy median and footpaths adjacent to one travel lane per direction. The short segment of highway is designated Georgia Spur 42 (Georgia 42 is the counterpart for U.S. 23 in Atlanta).

Georgia 42 Spur east
Georgia Spur 42 eastbound shield, posted midway between Highland Avenue and U.S. 23 & Georgia 42. Both Interstate 485 and Georgia 410 were cancelled on June 17, 1975 by a legislative act of then Governor Jimmy Carter. The act curtailed early 1970s construction that resulted in a partial interchange at Boulevard and Glen Iris Drive and grading for the eventual freeway eastward to U.S. 23 (Moreland Avenue). It was not until the early 1990s that the abandoned right of way and existing network of Georgia 10 was utilized in the construction of Freedom Parkway.2 Photo taken 01/17/04.
The north-south Seminole Avenue was severed with the completion of Freedom Parkway. The road is barricaded to the right of this scene which is taken from the Georgia Spur 42 median looking east. The grassy hill in the background represents the remnants of the initial groundwork completed for the Georgia 410 Stone Mountain Tollway.2 Fellow road enthusiast Daniel Rose surveys the scene in these two photographs. Photo taken 01/17/04.
U.S. 23 shield on the final extant of Freedom Parkway eastbound. Photo taken 01/17/04.
End Georgia Spur 42 shield assembly at U.S. 23 & Georgia 42. Three blocks to the north U.S. 23 turns eastward along U.S. 29-78-278 for a four way overlap to Clairmont Avenue. Photo taken 01/17/04.
Georgia 42 Spur west
Westward view from the Seminole Avenue area of Freedom Parkway. Note the wide grassy right-of-way, a remnant of the Interstate 485 projected path. If Interstate 485 and Georgia 410 were completed as intended, we would be looking at a large stack interchange in place of a grassy knoll in this scene. The junction would result in the Interstate 485 northeasterly turn toward Interstate 85 and Georgia 400, via the Georgia 10 alignment of Freedom Parkway, and the western terminus of the Stone Mountain Tollway (Georgia 410).2 Photo taken 01/17/04.
The intersection of Georgia Spur 42 and Highland Avenue. Freedom Parkway widens as it approaches the merge with Georgia 10 ahead. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library is located in the middle of the Georgia Spur 42 junction with Georgia 10. The placement of the library is no coincidence, as the Governor wanted to ensure that the Interstate 485 and Georgia 400 & 410 proposals would never again resurface.2 Photo taken 01/17/04.


  1. Stone, Alex. "Re: Interstate 485 in Atlanta, TN sequential based exit numbers?" Online posting, Yahoo! Groups Southeast Roads and Transport, December 30, 2003.
  2. J.T. Legg. Cancelled Atlanta Freeway Projects.

Page Updated March 7, 2004.

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