Georgia State Route 400

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State Route 400 marker

State Route 400
Map of northern Georgia with SR 400 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by GDOT
Length: 53.70 mi[1] (86.42 km)
Existed: 1971, 1993 – present
Major junctions
South end: I‑85 in Buckhead
 

I‑285 / US 19 in Sandy Springs
SR 20 in Cumming
SR 369 in Cumming

SR 53 in Dawsonville
North end: US 19 / SR 60 / SR 115 south-southeast of Dahlonega
Location
Counties: Fulton, Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin
Highway system
  • Georgia State Routes
SR 388 SR 401

State Route 400 (SR 400) is a controlled access state highway in the northern part of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is concurrent with U.S. Route 19 (US 19) from exit 4 (Interstate 285) until its terminus south-southeast of Dahlonega, linking the city of Atlanta to its northern suburbs. SR 400 travels from the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, at Interstate 85 (I-85), to south-southeast of Dahlonega. Like the Interstate Highways, it is a limited-access road (with interchanges instead of intersections), but unlike the interstates (which were renumbered by GDOT in 2000), the exit numbers are not mileage-based: they are sequential. Once SR 400 passes exit 17 (SR 306), it changes from a limited-access freeway into an at-grade divided highway with traffic lights, but still with a high speed limit of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h) and ends at the J.B. Jones Intersection at SR 60/SR 115 in Lumpkin County.

Between I-85 and I-285, SR 400 is designated "T. Harvey Mathis Parkway"; upon reaching the Perimeter (I-285) and beyond, the highway is designated "Turner–McDonald Parkway". SR 400 is known locally as the "Georgia Autobahn", the "North Georgia Autobahn", or the "Alpharetta Autobahn" due to the prevalence of speeding.

Route description[edit]

Georgia State Route 400 begins at Interstate 85 just north of Downtown Atlanta, goes through Buckhead, then has a junction with Interstate 285 before heading north into the northern Atlanta suburbs. The freeway section ends at SR 306 and SR 400 continues as a surface road until reaching its end at US 19/SR 60/SR 115.[1]

All of SR 400 south of the Dawson–Lumpkin county line is included as part of the National Highway System, a system of roadways important to the nation's economy, defense, and mobility.[2]

Exits on SR 400 are numbered according to the consecutive numbering system instead of reference post (i.e. mile-based) numbering. This is unlike the Interstates in Georgia, which have used reference post numbering since 2000. This means that exit numbers on SR 400 start at 1 and use consecutive numbers (2, 3, 4, etc.) instead of the number of the nearest mile marker.

At the south terminus, new ramps connecting Georgia 400 south to Interstate 85 north and Interstate 85 south to Georgia 400 north opened on April 2, 2014.[3] The project was two years in the making and was paid for with funds from the Georgia 400 toll plaza. Prior, drivers had to exit off 400 onto Sidney Marcus Blvd. to get to I-85 north. On I-85 south, drivers had to take the Cheshire Bride Rd./Lenox Rd. exit to get to Sidney Marcus for access onto 400 north. The ramp from 85 south is shared with Georgia highway 13 ramp (exit 86). From 400, Sidney Marcus Blvd. is now exit 1B and the ramp to I-85 north is 1A.

History[edit]

Original portion (I-285 to SR 306)[edit]

Planning for SR 400 began in 1954.[4] The initial section north of I-285 was officially dedicated on May 24, 1971[5] and subsequent additions to the north opened in stages through 1981. The road was subsequently widened in 1989 from its original four-lane configuration to eight lanes between I-285 and Holcomb Bridge Road. The widening projects were necessitated by the massive growth that SR 400 brought to northern Fulton and southern Forsyth counties.

In December 2005, the Georgia Department of Transportation began widening the section from Holcomb Bridge Road to Windward Parkway from three to four lanes in the northbound direction and from two to four lanes from Windward Parkway to McFarland Parkway. Southbound, the highway was being widened to four lanes between McFarland Parkway and Holcomb Bridge Road. In addition, metal noise barrier walls and a concrete divider in the median were also added.

As of 2010, a half-diamond interchange was added on the north side of Hammond Drive, allowing southbound exits and northbound entrances.

SR 400 extension (I-85 to I-285)[edit]

Toll booth on southbound SR 400
Passing through Buckhead on SR 400 southbound
Southbound lanes of SR 400 north of Pitts Road overpass

The southern section of SR 400 (from I-285 to I-85) was the last section to be constructed. It was the only active toll road in Georgia, after the Torras Causeway toll between Brunswick and St. Simons Island on the southeastern Georgia coast was removed in 2003,[6] until the high occupancy toll Express Lanes opened on I-85 in 2011. The SR 400 toll was to expire in 2011 after 20 years. However, Sonny Perdue and members of the state's road and tollway authority voted on September 24, 2010 to keep the tolls on SR 400 until 2020. The 10-year extension will fund 11 new projects on the highway.[7]

Despite the above vote, the tolls were removed in November 2013.[8] In 2014 the toll booths will be demolished.[9]

Freeway revolt[edit]

At one time, SR 400 was to connect to Interstate 675 in southeast DeKalb county; however, residents in Intown Atlanta neighborhoods did not want the highway to cut through their neighborhoods, and a freeway revolt ensued, ending when Jimmy Carter had the plan terminated while he was governor of Georgia. This freeway was to be known as Interstate 475 (a number now used for the Macon bypass), a parallel route to the Downtown Connector which is 2.5 miles (4.0 km) farther west through downtown and midtown. The point where this road would have had its interchange with the also-doomed Interstate 485 (now Freedom Parkway and SR 10 to Stone Mountain Freeway) is now the site of the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. A later routing of I-485 would have had that number running from the Downtown Connector west to the current library, then north on what is now SR 400.

The northern portion of the inside-the-Perimeter route remained alive, and after lawsuits by residents that spent several years in court, GDOT was able to force the extension through Buckhead. Dozens of homes were taken through eminent domain or the threat of it, and the highway was built though the middle of formerly-secluded and forested neighborhoods. Some remaining residents live on dead end streets with metal barrier walls.

The road opened to traffic on August 1, 1993, after three years of construction. Existing exits were renumbered up by four to accommodate the extension, which had a single toll plaza in the middle of its length when opened. Contrary to public belief, the bonds that funded the construction of SR 400 south of I-285 were not paid off until 2011.

Direct access from SR 400 southbound to I-85 northbound opened in April 2014, negating the need to take the indirect route via Sidney Marcus Boulevard. In addition, the North Line for Atlanta's MARTA system was constructed in the median from the Glenridge Connector to south of Lenox Road, and was opened on June 8, 1996.

When SR 400 was a toll road, the toll plaza, operated by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA), collected $0.50 tolls in both the northbound and southbound directions. Each direction had two open-road toll lanes, which collected tolls at highway speeds using the Georgia Peach Pass electronic tag (formerly "Cruise Card"), and seven gated toll lanes that accepted cash. The toll facility handled a total of approximately 120,000 vehicles per day. About 37% of transactions were paid via Peach Pass. The same technology is also used by SunPass in Florida, TxTag in Texas, and PikePass in Oklahoma; none of these has an agreement to accept the tags of the others.

In March 2009, local TV news reports brought up an issue regarding tolls on the road, since SRTA reported that enough money has been collected to pay the bonds used to construct the road (though prepayment prior to 2011 was prohibited). Despite promises that the toll would be removed once the road was paid for, the tolls continued to be collected. The road costs $2 million per year just to maintain (plus occasional repaving), and it would cost several million more for the demolition of the toll plaza. One solution would be to simply close the toll plaza, allowing drivers to pass through without paying. If this were to occur, the state would have to raise money through other resources for new road projects, such as the reconstruction of the tollway's northern interchange at I-285, expected to cost $2 billion. On July 19, 2012, Governor Nathan Deal announced that the toll barrier on SR 400 would be removed by the end of 2013.[10]

A revival of the connection to I-675 was proposed in 2009. A tunnel would go under East Atlanta and other neighborhoods in Atlanta on the DeKalb County side, south to I-20. A surface road would then go south to I-675. The project would be a public/private initiative.[needs update]

Tolls[edit]

Tolling was discontinued on Friday 22 November 2013 at 11:08 am; the last toll was collected by Governor Nathan Deal and was paid by the same couple that paid the first toll in 1993. The toll plaza is expected to be removed completely by Fall 2014.[11]

The toll plaza was located north of Lenox Road (Exit 2). Tolls were formerly collected in both directions. The toll was $0.50 for a 2-axle vehicle, $1.50 for 3 axles, plus $0.50 for each additional axle. In July 2012, two weeks before voters of Georgia voted on the Transportation Referendum act, Governor Nathan Deal said that the toll on GA 400 would be abandoned in November 2013, meaning that, at the beginning of 2014, SR 400 would be a toll-free road.

In 2012, a feasibility study was initiated by the Georgia Department of Transportation to explore the possibility of adding tolled express lanes.[12] The proposed express lanes would be 24 miles (39 km) long, and mirror the existing lanes on Interstate 85. The lanes' southern terminus will be Interstate 285 in Sandy Springs, and their northern terminus would be SR 20 in Cumming. Fees would be similar to the existing I-85 lanes, and will be paid using Peach Pass, making the express lanes compatible with the existing express lanes on I-85 (as well as the former toll plaza in Buckhead if it had remained in operation).

Governor Nathan Deal announced that the toll booth plaza was to be removed in a four-phase demolition project spanning from October 2013 to the fall of 2014.[13]

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
Fulton Atlanta 0.0 0.0 I‑85 – Downtown Atlanta, Atlanta Airport, Greenville Southern terminus
0.6 1.0 1B Sidney Marcus Boulevard Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
2.8 4.5 2 SR 141 Conn. (Lenox Road) Single-point urban interchange
Toll plaza (to be demolished in 2014) [a]
Sandy Springs 6.6 10.6 3 Glenridge Perimeter Connector Northbound exit via exit 4A; former SR 407 Loop
6.8 10.9 4 I‑285 / US 19 south – Greenville Southern end of US 19 concurrency; signed as exits 4A (east) and 4B (west)
7.4 11.9 4C Hammond Drive – Dunwoody, Sandy Springs Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
8.4 13.5 5 Abernathy Road – Dunwoody, Sandy Springs Northbound exits signed as exits 5A (east) and 5B (west)
10.0 16.1 5C North Springs transit station Southbound exit and northbound entrance only
12.0 19.3 6 Northridge Road
Roswell 15.0 24.1 7 SR 140 (Holcomb Bridge Road) – Roswell, Norcross Northbound exit signed as exits 7A (east) and 7B (west)
Alpharetta 16.4 26.4 8 Mansell Road
18.3 29.5 9 Haynes Bridge Road
19.6 31.5 10 SR 120 (Old Milton Parkway) – Alpharetta
21.0 33.8 11 Windward Parkway
Forsyth   23.8 38.3 12 McFarland Parkway
  28 45 13 SR 141 (Peachtree Parkway) – Cumming, Norcross
  30.8 49.6 14 SR 20 – Cumming, Sugar Hill, Buford Northbound exit split into separate east and westbound exit ramps
Cumming 32.8 52.8 15 Bald Ridge Marina Road
  34.7 55.8 16 Pilgrim Mill Road
  36.3 58.4 17 SR 306 (Keith Bridge Road) – Cumming, Gainesville
  Freeway ends
Dawson Dawsonville SR 53
  SR 136
Lumpkin   53.7 86.4 US 19 north / SR 60 / SR 115 Northern terminus; northern end of US 19 concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of December 2013 the toll plaza will be closed and demolished[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Google Inc. "GA-400". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=from:+corner%20of%20I-85/GA-13/GA-403%20and%20GA-400%20@33.825578,%20-84.359894+to:+corner%20of%20US-19/GA-60/GA-115%20and%20GA-400%20@34.468495,%20-83.967648. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "National Highway System: Atlanta, GA" (PDF). United States Department of Transportation. October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.ajc.com/gallery/news/flyover-ramp-connecting-400-85-opens/gCJyY/#4856237
  4. ^ "Historic Preservation Element" (PDF). November 7, 2005. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ Walsh, Darlene M., ed. (1994). Roswell: A Pictorial History (2nd ed.). p. 150. ISBN 0-9615854-2-0. 
  6. ^ "Governor Perdue and Georgia DOT Announce Elimination of Torras Causeway Toll" (Press release). September 12, 2003. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ga. 400 Toll Will Remain Until 2020". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.georgiatolls.com/programs/ga-400/
  9. ^ http://www.peachpass.com/peach-pass-toll-facilities/about-ga400
  10. ^ "Governor to remove Ga. 400 toll barriers". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012. 
  11. ^ Parrish, Sandra (22 November 2013). "Deal fulfills promise to end tolls on GA 400". WSB Radio. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "GA 400 Express Lanes". Georgia Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Press_Release_FINAL". Georgia Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
  14. ^ "GA 400 Toll Demolition Schedule". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. September 24, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing