According to indexdotcom, US 80 is a US Highway in the US state of Georgia. The road forms an east-west route through the center of the state, from the Alabama border at Columbus to Tybee Island on the Atlantic coast. The route is 471 kilometers long.
US 80 between Geneva and Talbotton.
US 80 in Alabama crosses the Chattahoochee River, which forms the border between Alabama and Georgia. The US 80 has been developed here as a freeway, the JR Allen Parkway which forms the northern bypass of the city of Columbus. The highway has 2×2 lanes and has an interchange with Interstate 185. On the east side of Columbus, the JR Allen Parkway becomes grade separated and intersects with US 27 Alternate. The US 80 then forms a 2×2 divided highway through the woods for more than 30 kilometers to Geneva.
US 80 then turns north and follows a single-lane route to the town of Macon, largely through densely wooded area with little elevation change. There are mainly some small villages on the route here. The road is largely single lane with oncoming traffic, but partly also has overtaking lanes. In the urban area of Macon, US 80 has 2×2 lanes and is an urban arterial. On the west side of Macon is a connection to Interstate 475, shortly after is also a connection to Interstate 75 in Macon itself. In Downtown Macon, US 80 crosses the Ocmulgee River.
East of Macon, Interstate 16 runs parallel to US 80. Here, too, US 80 passes through mostly wooded areas, with only short breaks with pastures. The road is single-lane almost everywhere and most places on the route do not have a bypass. This region crosses many north-south routes, including US 1 and US 25. The main places on this part of the route are Dublin, Swainsboro and Statesboro. Only Statesboro has a ring road.
Later you reach the suburbs of Savannah, where there is also a connection to Interstate 95. In Savannah there are also connections to Interstate 516 and US 17, US 80 passes under the bridges of the Talmadge Bridge of US 17. The road here runs along the Savannah River, through historic downtown Savannah. East of Savannah, US 80 is a 2×2 divided highway and runs through a swampy coastal region whose islands are built on. The road then leads as a 2+1 road over a dam to Tybee Island, on the Atlantic Ocean. The US 80 ends here.
US 80 was one of the original US Highways of 1926. Its eastern terminus was then in Savannah. In 1932, the terminus was slightly changed to nearby Tybee Island.
Macon – Savannah
In the 1950s there was already a dense network of through roads in Georgia, so US 80 was not very dominant. However, it was the primary route between Columbus, Macon and Savannah. These were Georgia’s largest towns outside of Atlanta at the time. US 80 was relieved between Macon and Savannah by the construction of Interstate 16 between 1965 and 1978. West of Macon, US 80 is a fairly important thoroughfare, between Columbus and Macon.
Partly because of the construction of I-16, the US 80 between Macon and Savannah has hardly been upgraded. Virtually no stretches have been widened to 4 lanes and bypasses are also missing, except at Statesboro, where a ring road has been constructed for traffic from US 25 and US 80. The Statesboro bypass was completed in the early 1990s.
J.R. Allen Parkway (Columbus)
Near Columbus, a northern bypass has been constructed as a freeway, the JR Allen Parkway. This wasn’t always the case, however, as the original US 80 went downtown via Macon Road and crossed the Chattahoochee River to Phenix City, Alabama. The freeway around Columbus began construction in the mid-1980s, with the first section likely opening in 1985 or 1986 to traffic between the Alabama border and the interchange with I-185. About 1988, a two-mile extension opened east of I-185, and by 1990 the highway was completed to the east side of Columbus.
The highway is named after James R. Allen (1930-1973), the mayor of Columbus between 1969 and 1973. He was killed in a plane crash on February 15, 1973.
Fall Line Freeway
The Fall Line Freeway was developed as a 2×2 divided highway running east-west through central Georgia. This route also runs between the Columbus and Macon regions, but most of the route goes further south than US 80. As a result, US 80 between Columbus and Macon is still largely single-lane. As part of the Governor’s Road Improvement Program, the western portion of US 80 between Columbus and Geneva has been widened to 2×2 lanes. This happened in several phases between 1995 and 2002. However, the longer section from Geneva to Macon has remained single-lane.
Savannah – Tybee Island
Tybee Island was already a resort on the Atlantic Ocean in the 19th century, one of the few areas with sandy beaches in the otherwise swampy coastal region. The Central of Georgia Railway was built to the island in 1887, and in the 1920’s the dam was built across the tidal swamp to Tybee Island, adding road access to the island. US 80 was routed over this in 1932. The original US 80 went through Victory Drive in Savannah.
In the 1960s, the Islands Expressway was built between Savannah and the islands east of the city. This included a toll bridge over the Wilmington River from 1963, designating US 80 as US 80 Toll, very unusual at the time. The bridge became toll-free in 1980 and was fitted with a second bascule bridge in the late 1980s. In the second half of the 1990s, a flyover was built on Whitemarsh Island to allow traffic heading towards the coast to bypass an intersection with old US 80. In 2005, a new 4-lane bridge was built between Whitemarsh Island and Talahi Island. Between 2018 and 2021, the bascule bridges of the Sam Varnedoe Bridge have been replaced by a fixed higher bridge.