History of Interstate 75 in Georgia

Before the construction of I-75, US 41 was the state’s main north-south route passing through Atlanta. I-75 is built largely in the corridor of US 41, only between Macon and Atlanta I-75 follows a slightly more easterly route than US 41.

Construction on I-75 began as early as the 1950s in the Atlanta area , portions of the highway predating the Interstate Highway system. The rural routes were built mainly in the period 1960-1972, only in northern Georgia was a relatively long missing link between Marietta and Cartersville, which opened in 1978 and I-75 through Georgia was completed.

Later, the entire Interstate 75 was widened to at least 2×3 lanes because of the route’s importance as a transit route to Florida and because of the enormous growth of the Atlanta area as a logistics hub. I-75 has been widened several times in Atlanta, this is now one of the widest highways in the United States, the Downtown Connector has 2×7 lanes.

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See also Downtown Connector.

In about 1952, the first sections of Interstate 75 opened through Atlanta. In the south of the city, an eight-kilometer section opened from the airport to University Avenue, and from downtown to where the interchange with I-85 in northern Atlanta is now, about two miles. At that time, the two parts were not yet connected to each other. Some more sections opened in 1957, extending the highway north and south, but the missing link in downtown Atlanta wasn’t opened until about 1964. I-75 was the first freeway in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The highway is constructed as a 2×3 lane road with no central reservation. The road was then numbered State Route 295. In the 1980s, the highway was radically widened during GDOT’s “free the freeways” program, due to the enormous growth of the urban area, the highway was notoriously congested. The highway was then doubled from 2×3 to 2×6 lanes.

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The dates below are indicative.

Van Unpleasant Length Opening
Exit 239 Exit 244 8 km 1952
Exit 249 Exit 251 3 km 1952
Exit 251 Exit 252 2 km 1955
Exit 237 Exit 239 3 km 1957
Exit 244 Exit 245 2 km 1957
Exit 252 Exit 256 6 km 1957
Exit 245 Exit 247 3 km 1961
Exit 247 Exit 249 3 km 1964
Exit 256 Exit 265 14 km 1965

Southern Georgia

I-75 at Macon, where I-475 is the through traffic bypass.

I-75 bij Arabi in Southern Georgia.

The 2×2 US 41 has been running from Atlanta since the early 1950s, so the priority to build a parallel highway next to it was not so great at that time. As early as 1953, construction began on the five-mile 2×2 bypass of Tifton, which was later incorporated as part of I-75. This is often mistakenly seen as the first stretch of Interstate Highway in Georgia. The first stretch of Interstate Highway in Georgia was a three-mile stretch along Forsyth that opened in late 1958. On October 9, 1959, a 60-kilometer stretch between Tifton and Cordele opened to traffic.

The section through South Georgia was built very quickly, almost no section was completed by 1961, and by 1963 the highway was completed from the Florida border to Unadilla, some 200 miles. Also in 1963 a section between Bolingbroke and Forsyth opened to traffic, the first section between Macon and Atlanta. In 1966 the highway was extended from the south to Macon. After that, construction still had to be done between Macon and Atlanta. In 1967, the route was opened through Macon at the same time as I-475, which forms the bypass of Macon. Only a part through the south of Macon was still missing. In 1969 much of it was opened up further north as far as McDonough. In that year, a section around Forest Park in the south of the Atlanta metropolitan area was also opened. The last link south of Atlanta opened in 1970, between McDonough and Morrow. The link in Macon was opened in 1971 and 1972.

Van Unpleasant Length Opening
Exit 64 Exit 101 60 km 09-10-1959
Exit 0 Exit 64 103 km 05-1962
Exit 101 Exit 120 31 km 05-1962
Exit 177 Exit 188 18 km 1963
Exit 120 Exit 155 56 km 1966
Exit 165 Exit 177 19 km 1967
Exit 188 Exit 218 48 km 1969
Exit 233 Exit 239 10 km 1969
Exit 218 Exit 233 24 km 1970
Exit 164 Exit 165 2 km 1971
Exit 156 Exit 164 13 km 1972

Northern Georgia

The highway is built in the north of the state from the north to the south, so from Chattanooga to Atlanta. The first part of this was opened between 1964 and 1966, around 1965. This was a fairly long route. The following year, the highway was extended slightly south to Adairsville, but construction slowed after that. A section opened from Oakland Heights to Adairsville in 1972, but the last link north of Atlanta was not opened until about 1978. This was also the last section of Interstate 75 to open in Georgia.

Van Unpleasant Length Opening
Exit 312 Exit 353 50 km ~1965
Exit 306 Exit 312 10 km 1966
Exit 293 Exit 306 21 km 1972
Exit 265 Exit 293 45 km ~1978

Integral widening to 2×3 lanes

I-75 has been fully widened to 2×3 lanes in Georgia. The section between Macon and Atlanta was widened before 1984, the stretch from the Florida border to Macon was widened to 2×3 lanes in many phases between the 1980s and 2010s. Since 2013, I-75 south of Macon has continuous 2×3 lanes.

van nasty widening length
Florida state line Valdosta circa 1996 25 km
Valdosta Hahira circa 2004 17 km
Hahira Adel circa 2006 17 km
Adel Tifton circa 2009 32 km
Tifton-South Tifton-North circa 1988 9 km
Tifton Turner county line circa 2004 13 km
Turner county line Ashburn circa 2008 18 km
Ashburn Cords circa 2002 24 km
Cords Dooly county line circa 2010 11 km
Dooly county line Elko circa 2013 34 km
Elko Perry circa 1995 16 km
Perry Fort Valley circa 1993 8 km
Fort Valley I-475 circa 198x 22 km
I-475 I-16 circa 199x 13 km
SR-247 (Macon) US 23 (Macon) circa 2012 4 km
I-475 I-675 before 1984 80 km

Henry County Express Lanes

Between 2014 and 2016, express lanes were built between SR-155 at McDonough and I-675 at Stockbridge, south of Atlanta. The 20 kilometer long express lanes is a 2-lane interchangeable lane with dynamic toll collection. The interchangeable track was opened on January 28, 2017.

Cobb County Express Lanes (Northwest Corridor)

It was planned to provide managed lanes for I-75 between I-285 and I-575 northwest of Atlanta, with 2×2 median lanes with no connections, through toll lanes. I-75 already had 2×5 to 2×7 lanes on this section, and a further widening to 8 or 9 lanes in each direction is not desirable and cannot be financed without tolls. In December 2011, the tendering procedure for this project was abruptly aborted.

The project was revived in 2013, and the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 50 kilometers of express lanes followed on 17 September 2014. Toll lanes are constructed as alternate lanes, 2 alternate lanes along I-75 between I-285 and I-575, and 1 alternate lane further north along I-75 to Hickory Grove Road, and 1 alternate lane along I-575 to Sixes Road. The Northwest Corridor opened to traffic on September 8, 2018. The project cost $834 million.


I-75 is basically toll-free, but tolls are levied on the interchangeable lane of I-75 between McDonough and Stockbridge, south of Atlanta, and on the Northwest Corridor between I-285 and Hickory Grove Road, north of Atlanta. The toll rates are dynamic and based on traffic volume. When the southern interchange lane opened in 2017, toll rates ranged between $0.10 – $0.90 per mile. A peach pass is required to use the switch lane.

Traffic intensities

45,000 vehicles enter the state daily from Florida, and the road remains busy with 45,000 vehicles on average between Valdosta and Macon. 84,000 vehicles drive daily in Macon, and Atlanta is obviously busier, with 200,000 vehicles off southern I-285, 157,000 at the airport, 267,000 off I-20, and 286,000 vehicles per day near downtown. On the northern I-285 this drops to 160,000 vehicles, and 244,000 vehicles drive per day on the widest part. 94,000 vehicles cross the Tennessee border at Chattanooga every day.

Lane Configuration

Van Unpleasant Lanes
Exit 0 Exit 165 (I-16) 2×3
Exit 165 (I-16) Exit 177 (I-475) 2×2
Exit 177 (I-475) Exit 216 2×3
Exit 216 Exit 226 (I-675) 2×3 + 2
Exit 226 (I-675) Exit 239 2×4
Exit 239 Exit 242 (I-85) 2×5
Exit 242 (I-85) Exit 251 (I-85) 2×6
Exit 251 (I-85) Exit 259 (I-285) 2×5
Exit 259 (I-285) Exit 265 2×7+2
Exit 265 Exit 268 (I-575) 2×5+2
Exit 268 (I-575) Exit 271 2×4+1
Exit 271 Exit 273 2×3+1
Exit 273 Exit 285 2×3
Exit 285 Exit 290 2×4
Exit 290 Exit 353 2×3

History of Interstate 75 in Georgia

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