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Interstates 75 & 85 North - Downtown Connector

Interstates 75 & 85 north
Interstates 75 & 85 expand to 12 overall lanes in the valley north of Langford Parkway (Georgia 166). The inside lanes of both carriageways are restricted to HOV-2 eligible vehicles. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Ramps from Georgia 166 add a seventh northbound lane to the Downtown Connector. A diamond interchange (Exit 244) follows in 1.25 miles with University Avenue (Georgia 54 south) by Pryor Street. Photo taken 04/13/12.
The first set of shields for Interstates 75 & 85 north reside along the 14-lane freeway below the Belmar Lavilla community. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Northbound Interstates 75 & 85 on the two mile approach to Interstate 20 (Exit 247). Exit 244 departs in a half mile for University Avenue. University Avenue travels west to U.S. 19 & 41 (Metropolitan Parkway) near Adair Park and Pittsburgh and east as Georgia 54 by High Point to McDonough Boulevard. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Exit 244 departs the Downtown Connector northbound for University Avenue. Georgia 54 begins a here in silent fashion and follows University Avenue east to McDonough Boulevard and Jonesboro Road south through South Atlanta. The 71-mile route met I-85 previously at Hogansville.
Use Exit 244 for Atlanta Metro College and Atlanta Technical College. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Skyscrapers rise from the Atlanta central business district in this northbound scene ahead of a Norfolk Southern Railroad crossing. Gentle curves grace the urban freeway at times through the hills of Atlanta. The geology is associated with the Appalachian Piedmont. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Exit 245 leaves the freeway next in one quarter of a mile for Ormond Street east to Washington and Capitol Avenues. Further exits include Exit 246 to Fulton Street and Central Avenue north to downtown, and an HOV ramp for Central Avenue at Memorial Drive, and the directional stack interchange (Exit 247) with Interstate 20. Photo taken 04/13/12.

Button copy overheads that were posted at the NS Railroad overpass on Interstates 75 & 85 north. Exit 90 consisted of a partial-cloverleaf interchange with Bass Street east to Capitol Avenue and Georgia Avenue (now Ralph D. Abernathy Boulevard) west to Mechanicsville. These ramps were removed to accommodate construction of Turner Field, the replacement venue for Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, which resided south of Fulton and east of Washington Streets. Photo taken 04/10/95.
The Abernathy Boulevard and Capital Avenue exit departs Interstate 75 & 85 at the Pryor Street overpass. This northbound only ramp serves Turner Field (located at the intersection of Abernathy Boulevard and Capital Avenue/Hank Aaron Drive), the home of Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves. The stadium opened in for the 1996 Olympic Games held in Atlanta. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Exit 246 to Downtown and Georgia State University departs the freeway south of Abernathy Boulevard and west of Turner Field. The two lane ramp splits into two prongs. The western prong utilizes a flyover across Interstates 75 & 85 before descending onto Central Avenue leading into the central business district. The eastern prong continues northward to Fulton Street, between the Mechanicsville and Summerhill neighborhoods. Photo taken 06/21/05.
New signs were installed at Exit 246 by 2012, adding a convention guide sign for the HOV ramp to Memorial Drive. Exit 247 follows in one half mile for Interstate 20. Interstate 20 leads west from downtown to Douglasville and the western suburbs while eastbound exits the city for Decatur, Conyers, and Covington. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Two lanes facilitate the movement from Interstates 75 & 85 north to Interstate 20 at Exit 247. Known as the Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway and formerly as the West and East Expressways, Interstate 20 bisects the city and metropolitan area of Atlanta between Birmingham, Alabama and Augusta along a 202-mile trek across the Peach State. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Northbound drivers are continually treated with magnificent views of the downtown skyline leading into the junction with Interstate 20. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Interstates 75 & 85 north reach the Exit 247 off-ramp to Interstate 20 (Ralph D. Abernathy Freeway) and the HOV left-hand ramp to Memorial Drive. Four general purpose lanes and one HOV-2 lane continue northward beyond I-20.
Interstate 20 varies between 12 and 16 lanes on the trek through the central business district of Atlanta. The metropolitan area encompasses the freeway between mileposts 24 and 96. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Single lane ramps connect the Downtown Connector north with Interstate 20 west to Birmingham and east to Augusta. Overall I-20 stretches 1,539 miles between West Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth, Shreveport, Jackson, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia and Florence, South Carolina. Photo taken 04/13/12.
Exit 247 partitions within view of the Georgia state capitol dome. Photo taken 04/13/12.
The Georgia State Capitol dome pokes above the flyover ramps to I-20 and the I-20 mainline as the Downtown Connector turns east by Georgia State University. The capitol complex resides at the corner of Capitol Avenue and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive north of the forthcoming cut and cover tunnel. Photo taken 08/22/03.
Entering the cut and cover tunnel below the intersection of Memorial Drive and Capitol Avenue. An upcoming exits sign posted within the freeway median outlines the distances to Edgewood Avenue (Exit 248B), Anthony Young International Boulevard (Exit 248C) and Peachtree Street (Exit 249A). Exits 248A and 249A are assigned to ramps in the southbound direction of the Downtown Connector. Photo taken 08/22/03. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
The Interstate 20 on-ramps merge onto Interstate 75 & 85 as the freeway approaches the half-diamond interchange (Exit 248B) for Edgewood, Auburn and J.W. Dobbs Avenues. Exit 248C immediately follows onto Georgia 10 (Freedom Parkway) east to the Carter Center and Andrew Young International Boulevard west to Peachtree Center. Photo taken 12/31/12.
A half-diamond interchange (Exit 248A for southbound) adds an auxiliary lane from Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to Exit 248B and Fort Street north at Edgewood Avenue. Edgewood Avenue leads west to Five Points. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Exit 248C serves several points of interest including the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Dome (home of the NFL Atlanta Falcons), Phillips Arena (Home of the NBA Atlanta Hawks), and Atlanta Medical Center. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Two lanes depart Interstates 75 & 85 north for Exit 248B for Fort Street and the three east-west avenues. A pair of loop ramps originally joined Edgewood Avenue with the northbound Downtown Connector. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Interstates 75 & 85 pass over Auburn and Edgewood Avenues on a viaduct between two trenched stretches of the Downtown Connector. The rise offers an unobstructed view of downtown. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Seven northbound lanes progress toward Exit 248C and Georgia 10 (Freedom Parkway) east. Georgia 10 represents the only portion of the proposed Interstate 485 urban loop constructed. Interstate 485 was slated to loop northeast from the Downtown Connector through Virginia Highland and Morningside-Lenox Park to meet Interstate 85 (Northeast Expressway) within the vicinity of Georgia 400 Toll. A second proposal for I-485 took the freeway east parallel to Highland Avenue to Decatur and Stone Mountain Parkway. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Exit 248C departs Interstates 75 & 85 north and splits into two ramps for Georgia 10 (Freedom Parkway) east to the Jimmy Carter Center and Andrew Young International Boulevard west to Centennial Olympic Park, Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Exit 248C partitions above Irwin Street. Two lanes stay straight to signalized intersections with Freedom Parkway east and Andrew Young International Boulevard west. Georgia 10 begins to the east and passes under Jackson Street before meeting Boulevard NE at-grade. Originally the freeway passed under Boulevard before prematurely ending at Howell Street. Construction of the Jimmy Carter Center included a revamp of the freeway end as Freedom Parkway, an at-grade roadway extending northeast to U.S. 29-78-278 (Ponce De Leon Avenue) at Virginia Highland. Photo taken 08/22/03. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
An HOV only left-hand ramp departs for nearby Piedmont Avenue at Baker Street from within the stack interchange with Georgia 10 (Freedom Parkway). Photos taken 12/31/12.
A second cut and cover tunnel lies below the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and Baker Streets. Exit 249B leaves the freeway just north of the tunnel for Pine Street east at Peachtree Street, two blocks ahead of the Atlanta Civic Center. Exit 249D follows onto Spring Street (former U.S. 19) at Linden Avenue, one block south of U.S. 29-78-278 (North Avenue). Photo taken 12/31/12.
The third tunnel on the Downtown Connector accommodates the intersection of Ralph McGill Boulevard and Courtland Street near the Civic Center. Three ramps depart Interstates 75 & 85 north over the next 1.25 miles. Photos taken 12/31/12.
Peachtree Street passes over Interstates 75 & 85 north ahead of the Exit 249B off-ramp to Pine Street. Peachtree Street splits with West Peachtree Street ahead of the Downtown Connector, with both roads leading north to Midtown. Pine Street east links the two streets.
Signs for Exit 249D reference U.S. 19, but that route no longer travels Spring Street north from Peters Streets and instead shares pavement with U.S. 41 along Northside Drive through to 14th Street. U.S. 29 also once used Spring Street between Whitehall Street and North Avenue. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Exit 249D loops from Interstates 75 & 85 north onto Linden Avenue east at Spring Street (former U.S. 19 & 29) and West Peachtree Street. The freeway next passes by the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology through to a half-diamond interchange (Exit 250) with 10th Street.
Sign changes made by 2012 include separate exit tabs but continue to incorrectly display U.S. 19. Photo taken 06/01/07. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
Spring Street flows south from U.S. 29-78-278 (North Avenue) to Centennial Olympic Park Drive. This segment of the street is disconnected from section flowing north from downtown. U.S. 29 is referenced here erroneously, as the route was relocated to Northside Drive along side U.S. 19 & 41 through to North Avenue. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Interstates 75 & 85 north pass under U.S. 29-78-278 (North Avenue) on the half mile approach to Exit 250 with 10th and 14th Streets. Advance signs appear for the impending split of Interstate 85 northeast to Greenville, South Carolina. Signs pictured here were replaced by 2012 to include the MUTCD-approved left-exit tab. Photo taken 06/01/07. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
Northbound at the 5th Street overpass and Exit 250 ramp departure for 10th and 14th Streets. Traffic departing Interstates 75 & 85 here join Williams Street north ahead of 10th Street and 14th Street. There is no return access.
Signs for Interstates 75 and 85 were removed during a sign replacement, though a new panel touts the left-hand ramp for HOV motorists continuing along I-75 north to Marietta. Photo taken 06/01/07. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
Interstate 75 and 85 prepare to split as they travel underneath the 10th Street overpass. Three lanes continue onto Interstate 85 northbound toward Chamblee, Norcross, Duluth and Buford while Interstate 75 turns northwesterly toward Marietta, Kennesaw and Cartersville. Exit 251A departs next in one quarter mile for 17th Street to U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 (Spring / West Peachtree Streets) in Midtown. Photo taken 06/01/07. Second photo taken 12/31/12.
Exit 251A to the 17th Street Bridge departs from this northbound scene now. The new exit opened on May 28, 2010 as part of $88.5-million project that included replacement of the 14th Street Bridge and a new ramp from the Downtown Connector southbound to 10th Street.1 Photo taken 12/31/12.
Descending toward the end of the Interstate 75 & 85 overlap below the original 14th Street overpass. A trumpet interchange separates the two freeways, with both maintaining at least six overall lanes. The HOV lane of the Downtown Connector also partitions into separate components within the junction. Photo taken 06/01/07.
New signs accompany the new 14th Street (U.S. 19) overpass as Interstates 75 & 85 prepare to separate. Expansion of the freeway here shifted the southbound lanes further west. Photo taken 12/31/12.
The 17th Street Bridge spans both carriageways of Interstates 75 & 85 and the HOV lanes for I-75 from between the Atlantic Station neighborhood and adjacent U.S. 19 & Georgia 9 (Spring / Peachtree Streets). The 829 foot span opened to traffic in 2004. Photo taken 12/31/12.
Traffic volumes are always heavy on the stretch of freeway north of downtown, with a value of 348,900 recorded by GDOT in 2011. Connections via Interstate 575, Georgia Toll 400 (and U.S. 19), Interstate 985, and Georgia 316 serve the outer suburbs of northern Atlanta. These include the communities of Alpharetta, Canton, Dunwoody, Gainesville, Roswell, Suwanee, and Woodstock among others. Photo taken 06/01/07.
New signs installed in 2012 at Exit 251B include larger panels for the HOV roadways. Interstate 85's HOV lane becomes a High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lane through the northeastern suburbs while I-75's HOV lane runs through Akers Mill Road (just south of Interstate 285). Photo taken 12/31/12.

Sources:

  1. "New Downtown Connector Exit Ramp To Open." WSBTV-2, May 28, 2010.
Photo Credits:
  • 1995-04-10 by AARoads.
  • 2003-08-22 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.
  • 2005-06-21 by AARoads.
  • 2007-06-01 by AARoads.
  • 2012-04-13 by AARoads.
  • 2012-12-31 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 20

Page Updated 07-23-2013.

 
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