Just before the end of last month, I took a trip up to Gainesville from Atlanta to attend an evening meeting.
For the first time in 2 years, I had driven up I-985 and noticed that the
Georgia DOT (GDOT) had replaced most all the big green signage with MUTCD-standard signs, including right-tabbed exit signs.
All the milepost signage along I-985 was replaced with ones showing the route number and direction. Each of the new signs were in one-mile and half-mile increments.
According to the
GDOT HERO coverage map, the southernmost section of I-985 from I-85 in Gwinnett County to Spout Springs Road (Exit 12) in Hall County is patrolled by their HERO motorist assistance units. However, these particular milepost signs exist all the way up I-985 to its northernmost end at US 129 North/GA 369 (Jesse Jewell Parkway/Exit 24)… and then some as shown in the photo below…
This particular sign, which I photographed “on the fly” using my smartphone, was located one mile north of Exit 24, the northernmost exit of I-985.
So where does I-985 really end?
According to the official Georgia highway map, I-985 ends at Exit 24 as shown below…
Source: Official Georgia Highway Map, 2011-2012, Georgia Department of Transportation
The first time I “clinched” I-985 in 1991, there were “END I-985/END ACCESS CONTROL” signs posted once you passed the ramp for Exit 24, but such signage had long since disappeared.
From this picture taken by fellow road enthusiast Alex Nitzman and posted on his AARoads Interstate Guide page for I-985, the highway is signed as US 23/GA 365 North just past Exit 24…
SOURCE: AARoads Interstate Guide I-985 Page.
Since I-985 does indeed end past Exit 24, why did GDOT put a milepost sign with I-985 one mile north of the Interstate’s end? For that matter, why does GDOT not place a new “END I-985/END ACCESS CONTROL” sign at the Interstate’s actual end? Inquiring minds want to know.
If I were to do the actual sign placement, I would use a yellow diamond “END FREEWAY” (or “FREEWAY ENDS”) sign and place the warning not only at its actual end, but also at one-mile and half-mile intervals before the actual end so as to warn motorists. Here’s a sample taken from the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Standard Highway Signs…
Despite my criticism of the sign error in question and the lack of ending designation for I-985, I do applaud GDOT for taking the time to place MUTCD-compliant big green signage along this particular Interstate and hope that they will continue to do so.