Interstate 185 To Be Named One Of Georgia's Scenic Byways

Interstate 185 will remain billboard free, thanks to a new designation. The Georgia Department of Transportation will be naming I-185 a scenic byway.

As you're driving down I-185 from Muscogee County to Troup County, you probably notice there aren't a lot of billboards along the highway. When I-185 is designated a scenic byway, that means this highway is going to stay natural and will be protected by the state.

Trees, trees, and more trees is all you see as you drive north on Interstate 185 towards Atlanta.

Keep Columbus Beautiful and other organizations worked for 2.5 years to make sure this scenery never changes.

"Preserving and promoting our greenspace is one of our emphasis. We want to make sure we protect that and having this designation as a scenic byway will allow us to do that," said Gloria Weston-Smart, from Keep Columbus Beautiful.

Only ten other state roads have been designated scenic byways by Georgia DOT. Gloria Weston-Smart says the title will be listed on all state maps.

"Which hopefully it will bring more visitors to our city and enhance the traffic we receive from our visitor's bureau," she said.

The designation also makes it impossible for billboards to be built along the highway, unlike Interstates 85 and 75.

"Well I think it's a good idea. We definitely need some spaces where we need natural scenery. And it's a nice thing especially when you're driving all the way to Florida, we really enjoy that," said Steve Echols, who lives in Atlanta.

"For many years, as we leave this Earth, other people will be able to go through there and enjoy natural scenic byway," said Weston-Smart.

There are some benefits to being designated a scenic byway. City officials say the designation allows them to apply for grants and other funding to maintain the natural state of the highway. Keep Columbus Beautiful and the Gateway Foundation are celebrating the designation at the Williams Road Welcome Center this Friday at 9am.