US 78 in Georgia

US 78 in Georgia


US 78
Get started Tallapoosa
End Augusta
Length 234 mi
Length 376 km
  • Alabama
  • Tallapoosa
  • Bremen
  • Vila Rica
  • Douglasville
  • Austell
  • Atlanta
  • Decatur
  • Clarkstown
  • Freeway
  • Lawrenceville Highway
  • → Atlanta Beltway
  • Clarkston
  • Tucker
  • Stone Mountain
  • Smoke Rise
  • Stone Mountain Lake
  • Mountain Park
  • Snellville
  • Athens
  • Washington
  • Thomson
  • Harlem
  • Augusta
  • South Carolina

According to, US 78 is a US Highway in the US state of Georgia. The road is an east-west route, running parallel to Interstate 20 for the most part a short distance. En route, the highway passes through the Atlanta metropolitan area, where the road forms its own highway, the Stone Mountain Freeway. The route is 376 kilometers long.

Travel directions

US 78 east of Athens.

Western Georgia

Just west of Tallapoosa, US 78 enters the state of Georgia from Alabama. The road runs parallel to Interstate 20, and passes through several towns. In Bremen, the US 27, which runs from Columbus to Rome, crosses two larger towns in Georgia. The Atlanta metropolitan area begins from Douglasville.


In Atlanta, the road is part of the urban underlying road network, and it traverses downtown, intersecting several highways, Interstate 285, Interstate 75 and Interstate 85. The Stone Mountain Freeway begins at North Decatur, a highway through several eastern suburbs. Pretty soon you cross the Interstate 285, the Atlanta ring road. After that, 2×3 lanes will go east. The highway is named after the Stone Mountain, a huge boulder that rises 250 meters above the area, and is visible from the highway and the surrounding area. East of Stone Mountain, the highway section ends, and the road continues as a regular highway through the eastern suburbs. This extends to Loganville, 50 miles east of downtown.

Eastern Georgia

You pass Monroe, a regional town, around which US 78 forms a short highway. Then you pass through Athens, a city of 100,000 inhabitants. It is one of the larger cities in the United States that is not connected to the Interstate Highway system. The US 78 is part of the highway ring here. One crosses US 29, which runs from Atlanta to Anderson, and US 441, which runs from Commerce to Eatonton, both small towns. The area is slightly hilly and wooded. In Washington you cross US 378, which leads to Saluda in South Carolina. At Thomson one crosses Interstate 20, that of Atlantawalking to Augusta. US 78 runs south of I-20 directly to Augusta, crossing the border into South Carolina.


US 78 was created in 1926. The route has not changed significantly in Georgia since then.

Historically, US 78 was Georgia’s main east-west connection. It was Atlanta ‘s primary east and west approach road and at the time there were few major cities outside of Atlanta, but the two regional cities of Athens and Augusta are on the route of US 78.

In Atlanta, US 78 was more or less the city’s main street for east-west traffic, and many towns west and east of Atlanta. The first serious upgrade, however, was in Augusta, where the Gordon Highway was constructed as a bypass from downtown. The first section of this opened on the southwest side of the city in 1955, followed by the rest of the bypass in 1957, which also included US 1 and the bridge over the Savannah River.

From the 1960s, Interstate 20 was constructed as the primary east-west route through Georgia, taking over the role of US 78. However, I-20 was planned further south in the east of the state, not through Athens, but more directly between Atlanta and Augusta. Construction on I-20 was fairly advanced in the late 1960s, but it took much of I-20 well into the 1970s before it was largely complete, the last section opening in 1979 in the western part of the state, allowing the U.S. 78 from that moment on, no longer played a role for through traffic.

Stone Mountain Freeway

The Stone Mountain Freeway has been constructed in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta, a short 15-kilometer highway. The first part of this opened in 1967 as the diversion of Stone Mountain, a landmark mountain that rises far above everything in eastern Atlanta. This is a major tourist destination. The US 78 has been upgraded to a freeway on its existing route here, the first part was only 3 kilometers long. The rest of the freeway opened in the early 1970s in eastern Atlanta, over a new route that intersects with I-285.

It was originally planned to extend the Stone Mountain Freeway west to the Downtown Connector. This fell through, as did other highways through eastern Atlanta, such as planned Interstate 675. In 1994, the Freedom Parkway opened in downtown Atlanta, a remnant of this plan.

Atlanta – Athens

In the early 1970s, a short bypass of Monroe was constructed as a freeway. This was the first major upgrade between Atlanta and Athens. In the late 1970s, an approximately 20-kilometre stretch from Monroe to Athens was widened to a 2×2 divided highway. In the early 1980s, US 78 was widened to 2×2 lanes between the terminus of the Stone Mountain Freeway and Snellville, following the suburbanization of Atlanta. In the mid to late 1980s, the road was further doubled between Snellville and Monroe, providing 2×2 lanes for the entire Atlanta to Athens corridor. At the same time, the southern ring road of Athens was constructed as a freeway.

Athens – Augusta

In the late 1960s, US 78 was moved outside the center of Washington. A Thomson diversion was completed in the late 1970s, but it is numbered as the State Route 17 Bypass while US 78 continues to pass through downtown. In 2017-2018, US 78 between Washington and Thomson was widened to a 2×2 divided highway, including a partial realignment.

US 78 in Georgia

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