Author Archives: georgiaroadgeek


Today around 11 AM, the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority ceased all toll collections on GA 400!!!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I decided to take a trip up 400 and through the toll plaza.

Here’s the video I posted to YouTube…

Thanks to Governor Nathan Deal for upholding his promise to make GA 400 a toll-free ride. As for former Governor Sonny Perdue and former SRTA director Gena Evans… well… I believe the best advice my folks ever gave me was “if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and enjoy your toll-free ride on GA 400!!!

LaGrange-To-Macon Highway Proposed

Hello, dear readers!

According to an article in the Rome News-Tribune, the Three Rivers Regional Commission is promoting a LaGrange-to-Macon freight corridor that would provide trucks running to and from LaGrange a direct route to I-16 and the Port of Savannah.

Known as “Georgia’s Export/Import Highway“, this 87.3 mile (139.7 km) highway would run Georgia State Routes 109, 18, and 74. This route would take the highway from I-85 in LaGrange (Troup County), to Greenville in Meriwether County, a small part of Pike County just south of Molena, Thomaston in Upson County, then through southern Monroe County, entering Macon-Bibb County (Georgia’s newest city-county consolidated government), and ending at I-75 just south of I-16. Based on the Export/Import website, here’s the route I traced, plus a slight modification of my own…

In addition to moving freight from LaGrange to Savannah by avoiding Metro Atlanta, it also is being promoted as an outer western Atlanta By-Pass, which would incorporate US 27/GA 1 from Chattanooga to LaGrange and give trucks and other Florida-bound traffic an alternative to the congestion of Metro Atlanta’s freeways. It is also being promoted as an economic development opportunity for both the Northwest and West Central sections of Georgia that are otherwise not served by the Interstate Highway System, thus making it a potential Governor’s Road Improvement Program (GRIP) corridor.

The next step is to get the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) to do a study (estimated cost $1,000,000) of the proposed corridor.

In any event, if the highway ever comes to fruition, it wouldn’t be until sometime between 2030 and 2040.

From both a roadgeek and Metro Atlanta motorist standpoint, and assuming that the highway will be 4 lanes divided with a 45-foot (13.6 meter) median, I think that this is a great idea and would hope that GDOT would incorporate this into their future highway plans. My only concern is how this highway would be built.

The Export/Import Highway as presented would incorporate bypasses around the cities of Greenville and Thomaston, which is a great start. For traffic flow purposes, I would advocate that interchanges be built on those bypasses at major highway crossings (US 27 Alt/GA 85 Alt and US 19/GA 3), plus a more northerly routing starting from around the Upson/Monroe County line and ending at I-75 just north of I-475 (see dashed black line in the picture). In my opinion, this modification would allow traffic to avoid Macon’ surface-streets, giving all vehicles (especially trucks) a quicker route to I-16 and Savannah.

So what do you think about this latest Georgia highway idea? Please post comments either on this blog or on the GRG Facebook page, and I look forward to reading them.

That’s it for now. Supper’s waiting and I gotta go eat. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

– “US 27 Could Be Alternate Atlanta Bypass For Freight“, Rome News-Tribune, September 20, 2013.
– “Georgia’s Export/Import Highway” website, Three Rivers Regional Commission

My Athens Area Sign Redesign Ideas

This afternoon, I played around with Microsoft PowerPoint and Paint and did redesigns on several big green signs (BGS) that are (or should be IMHO) posted along the Athens Perimeter (GA 10 Loop/422), University Parkway (GA 316), and the Watkinsville By-Pass (US 129/441/GA 24).

Please click here to see the entire Flickr set.

If you’ve got any comments or suggestions, then please feel free to post in this blog.

Thanks for reading, please check out and “like/subscribe” to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, and please come back often.

Save Cumming’s “See Rock City” Barn!

How many of you remember, or have ever seen, a “See Rock City” barn along the highway?

Ever since Rock City, an iconic 80-year-old Chattanooga-area tourist attraction located on Lookout Mountain just across the Tennessee state line in Walker County, Georgia, was opened, there have been “See Rock City” barns on various highways all over the American South. These barns have been just as iconic, if not more, than Rock City itself, and are a true piece of old “Americana”.

Two years ago, Ben Morris purchased some property on Atlanta Highway (GA 9) just south of Cumming, GA, in Forsyth County. This property includes an old produce stand, an old house, and a barn that was built in the 1930s. Until GA 400 was completed in 1981, GA 9 was US 19, a major highway linking Atlanta with the mountainous regions of Georgia and North Carolina.

According to Mr. Morris, who had the barn recently restored, a handyman had found that “See Rock City” previously existed on the barn’s roof. As a result, Mr. Morris had the barn restored back to the iconic look. Unfortunately, the Forsyth County code enforcement officers were not impressed and he received a citation as a result. Mr. Morris does plan to fight this citation.

Early this evening after enjoying a nice dinner in Cumming, I decided to drive over to Mr. Morris’s barn and get some photos for posterity. Here’s one my wife Mary took of me posing in front of the barn…

In my honest opinion, Forsyth County is intruding on the rights and freedoms of a landowner who only wanted to restore a barn to it’s original iconic image. Mind you, I have no problem with enforcing code violations such as junky cars, extremely tall grass, or a structure that has become a total eyesore and results in the degradation of property values in the vicinity. However, I fail to see where this barn would be an eyesore and Forsyth County should just drop the charges and leave this barn alone. Frankly, for all I care, he could’ve painted anything on this barn and it wouldn’t bother me one bit. It’s his property and Mr Morris has done a really nice job with this barn.

Here’s an idea… let’s e-mail, call, or fax the Forsyth County Code Enforcement Department. After I complete writing and posting this blog, I will immediately send an e-mail to Steve Zaring, the department’s supervisor. If you also feel that they need to leave the barn alone and drop the charges against Mr. Morris, then I encourage you to contact them as well.

If you wish to see this barn up close and in person, here are directions from Atlanta…

– US 19/GA 400 north to Exit 13 (GA 141).
– Turn left on GA 141.
– Turn right on GA 9 (Atlanta Highway) toward Cumming.
– Go past Billy Howell Ford/Lincoln and the Lakewood/400 Antique Market.
– The “See Rock City” barn is located on the right side of GA 9 just past Lakewood/400. (There is a parking lot near the barn. It is a business, however, so if you do visit, then please do so respectfully and briefly.)

Finally, I know that I haven’t blogged near as much as I used to, but I do regularly post stuff on the GRG Facebook page, which I hope you “like”. I’ve also created a new Instagram page for posting newer road pics from the road. Please be assured that I will post blogs whenever I get the urge to blog about something road-related that I believe in and that I always appreciate your support.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and “liking” our Facebook and Instagram pages and please come back often.

SOURCE: “See Rock City” Barn Leads To Dispute, WXIA-TV (11 Alive), Atlanta, GA, April 5, 2013.

I-85 HOT Lane Prices Keep Going Up and Up

This morning, the variable toll on the southbound I-85 High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes went up to a new all time high… $6.35 for driving the entire length. Here’s the story from Atlanta’s WSB-TV….

Have you ever heard the saying “There’s a sucker born every minute”? These so-called “Lexus Lanes” make me want to add the additional phrase “… and fleeced by the mile”.

Why anyone would want to pay to use these formerly-free lanes is still beyond me, but then again, it’s your choice to use or not to use them. My main problem with them is that these lanes, which were built using taxpayer dollars, were taken away from us. If they were new lanes, such as the newly-opened I-495 Express Lanes in Virginia, then I would’ve given the idea more support.

Regretfully, Georgia’s I-85 HOT Lanes are here to stay. However, it is my hope that we can pull together and keep the Georgia DOT (GDOT) and State Road and Tollway Authority from converting the remainder of the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes or any other lanes taxpayers already paid for.

So when will the toll hit $7.00? I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened soon. Regardless of the toll amount, I won’t be riding them anytime soon. If nothing else, it’s not part of my daily commute. US 19/GA 400, on the other hand, is part of my daily commute to-and-from my “real job” and I hope that GDOT and SRTA keeps the non-tolled section totally free… period.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, please “like” us on Facebook, get our “tweets“, and please come back soon.

So Where Does I-985 Really End?

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.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, please “like” us on Facebook, subscribe to our Twitter feed, and we’ll see you down the road!!!

Will GA 400 Tolls Finally End?!!!

This week, Georgia’s drivers received some good news from Governor Nathan Deal… THE GEORGIA 400 TOLLS WILL END!!!

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the current set of bonds that the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) authorized for the additional 10 years of funding can be paid off as early as December 1, 2013, without incurring a penalty.

Please note, however, that the SRTA board must officially approve this matter… and I strongly encourage them to do so!!!

As for the timing of this announcement, it should be noted that on July 31st, Georgians will go to the polls to vote on the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

In recent months, the T-SPLOST has met opposition from groups ranging from local “Tea Parties” to local NAACP chapters, groups that do not usually see eye-to-eye on most issues. In the case of the T-SPLOST, there is skepticism that the tax revenue generated by this extra penny will not be spent wisely on either roads or transit.

Even politicians of the same party are split on the issue. For example, Governor Deal and State Senator Chip Rogers, both Republicans, disagree with each other. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and State Senator Vincent Fort , both Democrats, disagree with each other as well. Deal and Reed are “pro-T-SPLOST”, while Rogers and Fort are “anti-T-SPLOST”.

Since Governor Deal and Mayor Reed support T-SPLOST, it could be said that the GA 400 toll announcement’s motive was to convince voters that the State of Georgia will indeed keep promises, and they are promising that a “yes” vote on T-SPLOST will deliver results to Georgians.

Regardless of the motive, I will be very happy to see the GA 400 tolls go away. After all, the GA 400 extension from I-285 to I-85 was not meant to be a toll road in perpetuity.

Thank you, Governor Deal, for making that announcement, and kudos to Dr. Gena Evans for finally listening to the people. I’m not sure if T-SPLOST will pass, but the end of GA 400’s toll is at least a step in the right direction and I’m looking forward to driving a totally untolled GA 400 in the future!

One more thing… the GRG Facebook page is close to 150 “likes”, and I thank all my fellow Facebookers for doing so. Please encourage all your Facebook friends to “like” us as well and thanks in advance for your efforts.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and please visit often.

KKK Wants To Keep Georgia’s Roads “Klean”

This week, a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) group applied to the Georgia DOT’s “Adopt-A-Highway” program to “kleanup” a stretch of US 76/GA 2/515 (Zell Miller Mountain Parkway) in Union County. GDOT sent the Klan this letter of denial.

After receiving the denial, the International Keystone Knights of the KKK has asked the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to assist them in their efforts to adopt Union County’s westernmost mile of 515.

Per Georgia DOT’s “Adopt-A-Highway” guidelines, “any civic-minded organization, business, individual, family, city, county, state, or federal agency is welcome to volunteer”. Does the Klan fall under such guidelines? I think not!!!

This morning, I viewed their website (I will not provide a link) and found a section that contains blatantly racist jokes and photos against non-white people. No civic group worth their salt would post such crap (or use the “n-word”) on their websites or any other publication.

As a result of the Klan’s recent application, GDOT is reviewing it’s “Adopt-A-Highway” guidelines, is not accepting any new applications, and is returning any applications that are in the “review” stage.

Here in my local community, I am a member of a local Lions Club, a nearly 100-year-old organization that is dedicated to the health and well-being of all citizens, regardless of race, color, religion, etc. Never have I heard of a Lions Club engaging in (or inciting) activities against any particular group of people. Sadly, we currently are unable to adopt any stretch of GDOT-maintained highway, thanks to the KKK.

So how can we keep Georgia’s highways clean in the meantime? IMHO, the answer lies in Georgia’s state prisons and local jails. Put more inmates (at least those classified as “non-violent”) to work picking up trash. We already pay taxes to keep them incarcerated. It would be a nice “return-on-investment” to organize them into supervised work details and have them “earn their keep” and pay their proverbial debt to society by keeping our state and local roads clean.

Frankly, if I had to choose between spending tax dollars in litigation between the Klan and GDOT and eliminating the “Adopt-A-Highway” program, I’d prefer the latter. Again, we’ve got a potential labor pool in Georgia’s prisons and jails. Let’s use them to keep our roads clean. As for the KKK, I have absolutely no use for them and life’s way to short to go “hating” on folks.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, visit our Facebook and Twitter pages, and please come back often.


– “DOT Rejects Klan Application To Adopt Highway, Legal Challenge Likely“, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 12, 2012

Georgia DOT “Adopt-A-Highway” Website

The US 411 Connector Saga Continues

Last weekend, Mary and I went up to her family’s place near Summerville, Georgia, for her late father’s annual family reunion and church homecoming.

During that weekend, we made a brief daytrip down US 27/GA 1 (a.k.a. “Martha Berry Highway”) to Rome to pick up some supplies for her mother and do a little sightseeing and driving around.

We took several photos around the area, including one of the Capitoline Wolf/Romulus and Remus statue that Benito Mussolini donated to Rome, Georgia, in 1929 as a token of friendship between Italy and the U.S.

Just after World War II began, the statue was removed and stored in a secret location due to prevailing anti-Italian sentiment. In 1952, the statue was placed in its current location and has been there since. For more information on the statue and its history, please click here.

While I didn’t do any “roadgeeking” in the area since we had to get back up to the farm, I did think about the proposed US 411 Connector and lamented on why it has not been built yet.

The next morning, I picked up my mother-in-law’s copy of the Rome News-Tribune, and lo-and-behold, there was a new front page article on the connector.

For those of you who may not have heard of this project, here’s a brief history…

In the early 1960s, the Georgia DOT (GDOT) built a 20-mile (32 km) 4-lane divided highway between Rome and US 41/GA 3 near Cartersville. US 411 was rerouted from its old route (current GA 293) onto this new route, which was also designated GA 344. In the late 1970s, the GA 344 designation was dropped and GA 20 was rerouted onto it, resulting in the current US 411/GA 20 we know today.

Since at least the 1980s, there has been a proposal to extend this highway eastward from US 41 to I-75, thus giving Rome a direct 4-lane connection to Atlanta. Several routes have been proposed and evaluated by GDOT, and in 2009, GDOT selected a route known as “Route D-VE”.

“Route D-VE” is a proposed limited-access 4-lane divided highway that would start at the eastern end of the 411 4-lane and end at I-75 at its interchange with GA 20 (Exit 290). Please click here for a map.

So what is keeping this road from being built? It’s not so much what as it is who… the Rollins Family!!!

The easternmost 2 miles (3.2 km) of the proposed highway goes through Dobbins Mountain, a property that the Rollinses own. The Rollinses claim that the road would do environmental damage and destroy the old “historic” Dobbins Mine, where manganese was mined from just after the Civil War through the 1940s. They also claim that the Cherokee Darter fish and Pink Ladyslipper flower were not properly accounted for in an environmental impact statement GDOT submitted to the Federal government.

In the meantime, the Rollinses donated an easement on their property to the City of Euharlee as a “wildlife refuge” and have invited various environmental groups to tour the property. On the surface, this sounds like a very noble thing, but IMHO, the Rollinses are manipulating as many people and groups as possible to keep the highway off their property.

The Rollinses have also been challenging “Route D-VE” in court and claiming that at least 2 other alternate routes would be better. One of them, designated as “Route A”, would use existing US 411, US 41, and GA 20 right-of-way with a bypass being built just north of the existing and antiquated US 41 and US 411 interchange near downtown Cartersville. This route would technically eliminate a “bottleneck” that traffic between Atlanta and Rome currently uses, but it would still keep traffic on US 41, which is riddled with traffic lights. Nearly 3 years ago, I traveled this segment myself and it seemed like it took forever to get to the US 411 4-lane. Furthermore, in 2005, GDOT determined that “Route A” would displace more homes and businesses, not to mention that it would do nothing to alleviate the existing congestion encountered on Cartersville’s stretch of US 41.

The other route, known as “Route G” would build a new 4-lane extension from the existing 411 4-lane to a point north of the I-75/GA 20 interchange. However, it would be too far out of the way to make any kind of difference in travel time.

As a roadgeek and Georgia motorist, I’m getting sick and tired of the unnecessary drama over this much needed Atlanta-to-Rome link and just wish that the Rollins family would admit that they only care about how much money (or lack thereof) that GDOT is offering them for their property. The route, D-VE, has been chosen, it has passed environmental muster, and plans have already been drawn up. All GDOT needs to do is buy the land and start building. Rollinses, you got a boatload of money as it is and could buy property anywhere you’d desire, so quit your “bellyaching”, drop the lawsuits, sell the property to GDOT, and let them finally build this much-needed and way overdue Atlanta-to-Rome connection. I’d love to be there to see GDOT and local officials break the first dirt on the first day of construction and cut the ribbon on the final opening.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, hope you have a happy and safe Memorial Day holiday, and please come back often.

SOURCE: “Extended Review For US 411 Connector”, Rome News-Tribune, May 20, 2012.

I-285 Speed Limit To Increase

Since 1974, when President Richard Nixon signed the National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) bill, Atlanta’s Perimeter (I-285) has had a 55 MPH speed limit. Before the NMSL, I-285’s speed limit was 70 MPH (and 60 MPH for trucks IIRC).

When all Federally-mandated maximum speed limits were repealed in 1995 as part of the National Highway System Designation Act, the Georgia DOT raised speed limits on suburban Interstates and certain rural non-Interstate divided highways to 65 MPH. Regretfully, I-285’s speed limit was not changed. But that’s about to change.

This week, GDOT announced that they will, indeed, increase the speed limit on I-285 to 65 MPH. As part of the change, there will be changeable speed limit signs added as well. However, there is no “timetable” as to when GDOT will make the changes.

As a frequent driver of I-285, especially the “top-end” section, I welcome the change and think the 65 MPH is a reasonable speed limit, given that it is a suburban Interstate. What I would like to know, however, is why GDOT says that they will make the change but have no “timetable”.

The simplest way that GDOT can make the change is to have “65” stickers printed and placed over the “55” on the existing speed limit signs. GDOT, if you’re reading this (and I bet you are), please take the “Nike” approach and “just do it”… period. Motorists, including myself, appreciate the fact y’all are going to make the change (albeit long overdue), and we’ll be even more appreciative when you “git ‘r done” (with apologies to Larry The Cable Guy).

What do you, dear readers, think about this change? Please feel free to post your comments accordingly. In the meantime, that’s it for now. If you haven’t checked out our Facebook page for more Georgia road news, then please do so. Oh… and you can also follow us on Twitter.

To our Jewish readers, may you have a Happy Passover, and to our Christian readers, may you have a Happy Easter. Thanks for reading and please come back often.

SOURCE: “Speed Limit to be Raised on I-285”, FOX 5 Atlanta (WAGA-TV), April 3, 2012