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Atlanta Georgia: Rush Hour Interstate Highway Traffic Congestion

In 2017, Atlanta, Georgia was ranked as having the fourth-worst traffic problem in the US, and on the international level it came in as the eight-worst for the second year in a row. Today’s feature image taken circa 1967 in the southern City show that during rush hour the traffic problem on Interstates 75 and 85 north of Atlanta is not a recent development.

Construction began on the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways after the Federal-Aid Highway Act was passed by Congress in 1956.

As initially conceived at the time, the Interstate Highway system would be adequate for the projected growth in population and the number of motor vehicles until 1975. Although in many urban areas as seen here in Atlanta as early as the 1960s, the thoroughfares were incapable of handling peak traffic volume.

An interesting video of a film produced for the Portland Cement Association (below) in 1961 shows how much of the Highway System was constructed. The complete history by the Nation Archives of the Interstates up until 2006 can be found at “Ike’s Interstates at 50.”

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of the Georgia State University Library.

21 responses to “Atlanta Georgia: Rush Hour Interstate Highway Traffic Congestion

  1. My eye went to the lights mounted high on the fenders of the oval-window Beetle driving away at the lower right. Aftermarket turn signals to replace the trafficators?

  2. In 1965 and 66 I was helping my Dad and a few other family members and friends escort wide loads around the south-eastern (mostly) part of the country. Being young and on my own a lot running up and down the highways was a real hoot ! Some of our loads were gantry assemblies for the Cape, some were mobile homes, and misc other “wide or overlong” things. Going through Atlanta back then was absolutely one of the major thrills of that period, as we always tried to go thru in non-rush hour times. We were limited to dawn to dusk by the permits on most loads, but still managed to blow through there like there was no traffic at times. Speeds then were 75 on the Interstates, and 65 on some state roads, so we tried hard to always beat those. Ever seen a wide load in your mirror coming at you around 80-85 mph ? Thrilling and scary too. The most imposing part of Atlanta was the different interchanges and exits we had to watch for from what-ever lane we were in. Fortunately the toter (truck) drivers knew most of them, as this kid was “running scared ” and excited most of the time, ha ! Loved and dreaded those Atlanta roads….

  3. There’s a MG-A with a white soft top next to the trash truck. I counted seven VW Beetles, including the oval window with some additional tail lights or turn signals mounted above the stock taillights.

  4. The “J.Bain ” truck is an early 60’s Ford H series, better known as the “2 story Falcon”. While this is a gas job, the H series was the 1st diesel ( Cummins) offered by Ford. The tired looking truck bobtail (no trailer) is a mid 50’s GMC 800 (?) without a shadow of a doubt, Detroit powered ( poor guy), and by the mid 60’s, was just about ready for retirement. Behind it, a rather new Chevy C60 beverage truck, in the middle lane, a Mack F series cabover, and behind it, looks like a White 7000 cabover. I think these were dubbed “the Japanese Freightliners”.

  5. In the far left lane, that tough looking c. 1955 GMC truck/tractor with open hood vents wouldn’t be something you wanted to tangle with.

  6. There are 6 lanes in this photo. Now, last time I counted it was 14 and sometimes is just as jammed. (The secret to living in Atlanta is to live in town. Out in the morning, in in the afternoon.

  7. Heading away from us in the near foreground, a `65 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan; the first B-pillared Fleetwood since `56.

    • Its worth noting that the vinyl top indicated it was a ’65 Fleetwood Sixty Special with the “Brougham” option in its first year. For ’66 the Fleetwood Brougham became a separate model based on the Sixty Special and immediately succeeded it in popularity. The Fleetwood Brougham continued for a thirty year run, being the last rwd Cadillac in ’96.

  8. Interesting, I never knew about the Ford H series truck. You can see how they took a C series cab and placed over the engine, I guess the fluted trim was just fibreglass…Two Story Falcon, now that’s a good one……

  9. That J. Bain truck is a Ford N-series. Shorter bumper to back of cab length than an F-series but not as short as the C-series or H-series cabover.

  10. The only 50’s car I can see is the ‘Tank’ Fairlane behind the two trucks in the second lane from the right.

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