Georgia State Route 400
Map of northern Georgia with SR 400 highlighted in red
|Length:||53.70 mi (86.42 km)|
|Existed:||1971, 1993 – present|
|South end:||I-85 in Buckhead|
|SR 53 in Dawsonville|
|North end:||US 19 / SR 60 / SR 115 south of Dahlonega|
|Counties:||Fulton, Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin|
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 4B until its terminus just south of Dahlonega. SR 400 travels from the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, at Interstate 85 (I-85), to just south 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.
|This section requires expansion. (April 2010)|
Georgia State Route 400 begins at Interstate 85 just north of Downtown Atlanta and starts as a toll road through Buckhead. At Interstate 285, the road becomes a free road, 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.
Original portion (I-285 to SR 306)
|This section is outdated. (September 2013)|
Planning for SR 400 began in 1954. The initial section north of I-285 was officially dedicated on May 24, 1971 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.
SR 400 extension (I-85 to I-285)
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, 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.
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.
Nonetheless, the northern portion of the inside-the-Perimeter route remained alive, and after lawsuits by residents that spent numerous 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 right though the middle of formerly-secluded and forested neighborhoods. Many remaining residents now live on dead end streets with significant noise pollution or unsightly 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 has a single toll plaza in the middle of its length. Contrary to public belief, the bonds that funded the construction of SR 400 south of I-285 will not be paid off until 2011. Direct access from SR 400 southbound to I-85 northbound is being constructed as of August 2013, 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.
The SR 400 toll plaza, operated by the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA), collects $0.50 tolls in both the northbound and southbound directions. Each direction has two open-road toll lanes, which collect tolls at highway speeds using the Georgia Peach Pass electronic tag (formerly "Cruise Card"), and seven gated toll lanes which accept cash. The toll facility handles a total of approximately 120,000 vehicles per day. About 37% of transactions are paid via Peach Pass. The same technology is also used by SunPass in Florida, TxTag in Texas, and PikePass in Oklahoma; however, 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 is prohibited). However, despite promises that the toll would be removed once the road was paid for, the tolls continue 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 will be removed by the end of 2013.
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.
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. In the meantime, traffic will be routed through the now former PeachPass lanes at the left of the plaza.
The toll plaza is located north of Lenox Road (Exit 2). Tolls were fomerly 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. Tolls were never collected on ramps. 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. 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 toll booth near Lenox Drive and the existing express lanes on I-85.
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.
||Atlanta||0.0||0.0||—||I-85 south – Downtown Atlanta, Atlanta Airport||Southbound exit and northbound entrance only|
|0.6||1.0||1||Sidney Marcus Boulevard to I-85 north||Southbound exit and northbound entrance only|
|2.8||4.5||2||SR 141 Conn. (Lenox Road)||Single-point urban interchange|
|Toll plaza [a]|
|Sandy Springs||6.6||10.6||3||Glenridge Perimeter Connector||Northbound exit via exit 4A; former SR 407 Loop|
|6.8||10.9||4A||I-285 east – Greenville, Augusta|
|6.9||11.1||4B||I-285 west / US 19 south – Marietta, Chattanooga, Birmingham||South end of US 19 overlap|
|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|
|Roswell||15.0||24.1||7||SR 140 (Holcomb Bridge Road) – Roswell, Norcross||Northbound exit signed as exits 7A (east) and 7B (west)|
|18.3||29.5||9||Haynes Bridge Road|
|19.6||31.5||10||SR 120 (Old Milton Parkway) – Alpharetta|
||23.8||38.3||12||McFarland Parkway||Northbound exits signed as exits 12A (east) and 12B (west)|
|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|
||53.7||86.4||US 19 north / SR 60 / SR 115||North end of US 19 overlap|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- As of December 2013 the toll plaza will be closed and demolished
- Google Inc. Google Maps – GA-400 (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=from:+corner%20of%20I-85/GA-13/GA-403%20and%20GAemail@example.com,%20-84.359894+to:+corner%20of%20US-19/GA-60/GA-115%20and%20GAfirstname.lastname@example.org,%20-83.967648. Retrieved October 31, 2012.
- "National Highway System: Atlanta, GA" (PDF). United States Department of Transportation. October 1, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Historic Preservation Element" (PDF). November 7, 2005. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- Walsh, Darlene M., ed. (1994). Roswell: A Pictorial History (2nd ed.). p. 150. ISBN 0-9615854-2-0.
- "Governor Perdue and Georgia DOT Announce Elimination of Torras Causeway Toll" (Press release). September 12, 2003. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Ga. 400 Toll Will Remain Until 2020". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Governor to remove Ga. 400 toll barriers". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. July 19, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
- Parrish, Sandra (22 November 2013). "Deal fulfills promise to end tolls on GA 400". WSB Radio. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "GA 400 Express Lanes". Georgia Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Press_Release_FINAL". Georgia Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- "GA 400 Toll Demolition Schedule". Atlanta, GA: WSB-TV. September 24, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- Media related to Georgia State Route 400 at Wikimedia Commons