Interstate 26 in South Carolina

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Interstate 26

James F. Byrnes Memorial Freeway
I-26 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by SCDOT
Length220.7 mi[1] (355.2 km)
Existed1960–present
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
West end I-26 at the North Carolina line near Landrum
Major intersections I-85 near Spartanburg
I-385 in Clinton
I-20 near Columbia
I-126 / US 76 in Columbia
I-77 in Cayce
I-95 near Holly Hill
I-526 in North Charleston
East end US 17 in Charleston
Location
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
CountiesSpartanburg, Laurens, Newberry, Lexington, Richland, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Dorchester, Berkeley, Charleston
Highway system
US 25 SC 27

Interstate 26 (I-26) is a South Carolina Interstate highway running generally east–west from near Landrum, in Spartanburg County, to U.S. Route 17 (US 17), in Charleston, South Carolina. It is also the longest Interstate Highway in South Carolina.

Route description

I-26 runs 221 miles (356 km) through South Carolina. Milemarkers run from west (north) to east (south). Milemarker 0 is in the mountains at the North Carolina state line. The last exit, at US 17 south of Charleston, is exit 221.

I-26 runs between the Broad and Saluda Rivers, descending from the mountains to the piedmont or midlands. At Columbia, I-126 crosses the confluence of the Broad and Saluda, which together form the Congaree, near the Columbia Canal and water treatment plant. I-26 continues following the Congaree until it hops south over into the Cooper and Ashley Drainage, then down to the coast.

I-26 is predominantly a four-lane rural Interstate with 70-mile-per-hour (110 km/h) speed limits. In the Columbia and Charleston areas, the Interstate widens to six lanes, but speeds are lower.

I-26 enters South Carolina just northeast of Landrum, traveling a southeasterly direction. The first major city along its route is Spartanburg, where it intersects I-85 to Greenville and Charlotte. As the Interstate weaves along the terrain, it reaches Clinton; where westbound travelers can connect with I-385 toward Greenville. Traveling through the Sumter National Forest, it connects with Newberry before entering the Midlands. At Columbia in a section known as "Malfunction Junction", it connects with I-20 to Augusta and Florence and I-126 toward the downtown area; it then goes south over the Saluda River and into Lexington County for the second of eventually four times along its course. At Cayce, it connects with I-77 to Charlotte. South of Cayce, the Interstate goes up and down a few very long hills before reaching the outskirts of Orangeburg and I-95 to Savannah and Florence. As it enters the relatively flat plains of the Lowcountry, the area becomes urbanized as the Interstate encroaches upon North Charleston and Charleston. As the Interstate curves through the peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper rivers, it connects with I-526 to Savannah and Mount Pleasant. Near the end, it overlaps with US 17 from its new interchange (from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge) to where the old interchange remnants and where I-26 ends (formally where the John P. Grace Memorial Bridge and Silas N. Pearman Bridge connected).

Services

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) operates and maintains one welcome center and seven rest areas along I-26. Welcome centers, which have a travel information facility on site, are located at milemarker 3 (eastbound); rest areas are located at milemarkers 63 (east and westbound), 123 (east and westbound), 150 (eastbound), 152 (westbound), and 204 (eastbound).[2] Common at all locations are public restrooms, public telephones, vending machines, picnic area, and barbecue grills.[3]

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and State Transport Police (STP) operates and maintains three truck inspection/weigh stations. A westbound weigh station can be found at milemarker 93.5 in Chapin 17 miles (27 km) west of Columbia, and two others at milemarker 173 (eastbound) and milemarker 174 (westbound) in Harleyville east of the interchanges with I-95 and US 15.[4][5]

History

East I-26 in South Carolina at milemarker 79, between Newberry and Prosperity.

Construction of I-26 began in 1957 in the Columbia area with the nine-mile (14 km) section from the Broad River to near Irmo.[6] The 11-mile (18 km) section of I-26 from I-126/US 76 in Columbia to US 176 at exit 97 was the first section of the highway to open up to traffic (on September 7, 1960). The six-mile (9.7 km) section from South Carolina Highway 210 (SC 210) to US 15 opened in September 1962.[7] Construction proceeded in stages heading both west up toward Greenville and east toward Charleston. The highway was largely completed from Columbia to North Charleston by 1964; the section from Aviation Avenue to the highway's terminus at US 17 in downtown Charleston progressed more slowly due to land takings for the right-of-way and numerous bridges and viaducts that had to be built. The entire 221 miles (356 km) of I-26 were completed by February 1969.[6]

In the 1980s–1990s, I-26 around Columbia was widened from four to six lanes. In the mid-1990s, the North Charleston area was also widened from four to six lanes, part of which was further widened to eight lanes in the early 2010s. In 2005, the US 17 was realigned to a new interchange with I-26 at exit 220 from exit 221; the old interchange was mostly torn down and reconfigured, leaving the I-26 viaduct eastbound offramp and westbound onramps with US 17 south. In the mid-2010s, I-26 was widened southeast of Columbia from I-77 to Old Sandy Run Road. Starting in 2019 or 2020, a long stretch of I-26 northwest of Columbia will begin widening construction from four to six lanes from SC 202 at Little Mountain to US 76/US 176 at Irmo.

In 2011, a plan to add a lane in each direction between Broad River Road and Saint Andrews Road through "Malfunction Junction" had $8.5 million (equivalent to $11.06 million in 2022) in funding but was expected to start sometime after 2012 and take two years.[8]

On October 5, 2016, I-26 had all lanes converted to westbound only, from I-77 to I-526, due to Hurricane Matthew.[9] This was done again on September 11, 2018, due to Hurricane Florence,[10] and in September 2019 for Hurricane Dorian.[11]

On November 19, 2016, construction began in Charleston to demolish, reconfigure, and replace exits 217 and 218, related to a new access road to the Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal; the interchange was opened on February 23, 2021.[12][13]

On October 18, 2018, SCDOT approved widening I-26 between Columbia and Charleston. SCDOT plans to widen I-26 from Old Sandy Run Road in Calhoun County to Ridgeville Road (SC 27) in Berkeley County.[14] Work on the road widening project officially began in October 2022.[15]

Future

SCDOT is currently working on several projects to improve I-26 along its entire route in South Carolina.[16] In Columbia, work has begun on the "Carolina Crossroads" project to redo improve the Interstate corridors in the city.[17] These improvements are being made increase mobility and enhance traffic operations by reducing existing traffic congestion within the I-20/I-26/I-126 corridor, while accommodating future traffic needs.[18][19] The corridor's approximately 14 miles (23 km) of mainline Interstate include I-26 from exit 101 (Broad River Road/US 176) to east of the Saluda River, I-20 from the west of the Saluda River to west of the Broad River, and I-126 from I-26 to east of the interchange with Colonial Life Boulevard.[20] A $62.1 million project to convert the US 21 interchange south of Columbia from a partial cloverleaf interchange to a diamond interchange started in May 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2026. Long-term plans call for much of I-26 to be widened from four to six lanes between Columbia and Charleston. The project is expected to cost $2 billion and will also include rebuilding bridges and reconfiguring interchanges, including I-95 interchange near Holly Hill. Bidding for at least a part of the 70-mile-long (110 km) project is expected to begin by the end of 2023 with construction tentatively scheduled to start in the middle of 2024.[21]

Auxiliary routes

I-26 in South Carolina has two extant and one former auxiliary route. I-126 in Columbia and I-526 in Charleston are spur routes in their respective cities. I-326 was an unsigned designation that was decommissioned and is now part of I-77 in Columbia.

Exit list

CountyLocationmi[1]kmExitDestinationsNotes
Spartanburg0.00.0
I-26 west – Hendersonville, Asheville
Continuation into North Carolina
Landrum0.91.41
SC 14 east – Landrum
5.38.55 SC 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) – Campobello, Chesnee
10.016.110 SC 292 – Inman
14.022.515 US 176 – Inman, Spartanburg
15.424.816John Dodd Road – Wellford
Southern Shops16.726.917New Cut Road
17.828.618 I-85 – Greenville, CharlotteSigned as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
18.629.919 I-85 BL – Greenville, SpartanburgSigned as exits 19A (south) and 19B (north)
Spartanburg21.033.821 US 29 – Greer, SpartanburgSigned as exits 21A (south) and 21B (north); to Westgate Mall
22.035.422 SC 296 (Reidville Road) – Spartanburg, Reidville
Moore28.145.228 US 221 – Spartanburg, Moore, Woodruff
34.555.535Walnut Grove Road – Woodruff
38.061.238 SC 146 – Cross Anchor, Woodruff
40.665.341 SC 92 – Enoree, Cross Anchor
44.171.044 SC 49 – Laurens, Cross Anchor, Union
LaurensClinton51.883.451
I-385 north – Laurens, Greenville
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
52.584.552 SC 56 – Clinton, Cross Anchor
53.686.354 SC 72 – Clinton, Whitmire
59.796.160 SC 66 (Whitmire Highway) – Joanna, Whitmire
Newberry66.2106.566Jalapa Road– JalapaFormerly Road 32
71.5115.172 SC 121 – Newberry, Whitmire, Union
Newberry74.0119.174 SC 34 – Newberry, Winnsboro
76.0122.376 SC 219 – Newberry, Pomaria
82.2132.382 SC 773 – Prosperity, Pomaria
85.2137.185 SC 202 – Pomaria, Little Mountain
LexingtonChapin91.2146.891Columbia Avenue – Chapin
Richland96.5155.397 US 176 – Ballentine, White Rock, Peak
Irmo101.4163.2101
US 76 west / US 176 (Broad River Road) – Ballentine, White Rock
Western end of US 76 overlap; signed as exits 101A (west) and 101B (east)
102.2164.5102 SC 60 (Lake Murray Boulevard) – Lake Murray, IrmoSigned as exits 102A (west) and 102B (east)
Columbia103.4166.4103Harbison BoulevardTo Columbiana Centre
LexingtonSeven Oaks104.3167.9104Piney Grove Road
106.4171.2106St. Andrews Road
RichlandSt. Andrews107.1172.4107 I-20 – Augusta, FlorenceSigned as exits 107A (west) and 107B (east). Plans to modify into turbine interchange
Columbia107.6173.2108ABush River RoadTo be removed following Carolina Crossroads reconstruction.
107.8173.5108

I-126 east / US 76 east – Downtown Columbia and Colonial Life Boulevard
Eastern end of US 76 overlap. Colonial Life Boulevard exit to be added in Carolina Crossroads, scheduled to open by 2024.
LexingtonWest Columbia109.7176.5110 US 378 – Lexington, West Columbia
111.3179.1111
US 1 to SC 12 – Lexington, West Columbia
Signed as exits 111A (south) and 111B (north)
Cayce113.2182.2113 SC 302 – Columbia Airport, Cayce
115.1185.2115 US 21 / US 176 / US 321 – Gaston, Cayce
115.6186.0116
I-77 north – Charlotte
Southern terminus of I-77
119.5192.3119 US 21 / US 176 – St. Matthews, Dixiana
Calhoun124.6200.5125Old Sandy Run Road – Gaston
Lexington128.7207.1129 US 21
Calhoun136.3219.4136 SC 6 – North, St. Matthews, Swansea
139.3224.2139Burke Road – St. Matthews
Orangeburg145.3233.8145 US 601 – Orangeburg, St. Matthews
148.5239.0149 SC 33 – Orangeburg, CameronTo SC State University and Claflin University
154.2248.2154 US 301 – Orangeburg, SanteeSigned as exits 154A (south) and 154B (north)
159.0255.9159Homestead Road – Bowman
164.7265.1165 SC 210 – Bowman, Vance
168.5271.2169 I-95 – Savannah, FlorenceSigned as exits 169A (south) and 169B (north)
Dorchester171.5276.0172 US 15 – St. George, Santee, Holly HillSigned as exits 172A (south) and 172B (north)
177.0284.9177 SC 453 – Harleyville, Holly Hill
187.4301.6187 SC 27 – Ridgeville, St. George
Berkeley189.2304.5189Volvo Car DriveTo Geely manufacturing plant
194.4312.9194Jedburg Road – Jedburg, PinopolisSigned as exits 194A (south) and 194B (north) westbound; formerly Road 16
Summerville197.5317.8197Nexton ParkwaySigned as exits 197A (south) and 197B (north) westbound
199.0320.3199
US 17 Alt. – Summerville, Moncks Corner
Signed as exits 199A (south) and 199B (north)
Ladson203.2327.0203College Park Road – Ladson
CharlestonNorth Charleston205.0329.9205
US 78 to US 52 – Goose Creek, Ladson
Signed as exits 205A (west) and 205B (east); to Charleston Southern University
Weber BoulevardProposed interchange (funded only for right of way procurement)[22]
208.1334.9209A

US 52 Conn. north to US 52 / US 78 – Goose Creek, Moncks Corner
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; southern terminus of US 52 Conn.
208.6335.7209BAshley Phosphate RoadSigned as exit 209 eastbound; to Northwoods Mall
211.1339.7211AAviation Avenue – Charleston AFB
211.6340.5211BRemount Road – HanahanFormerly exit 211 before 2012; exits connected in both directions via collector-distributor lanes
212.6342.1212 I-526 – Savannah, Mount PleasantSigned as exits 212B (west) and 212C (east)
213.5343.6213Montague Avenue / Tanger Outlet Boulevard / Mall DriveSigned as exits 213A (Montague Avenue west, Tanger Outlet Boulevard) and 213B (Montague Avenue east) eastbound; eastbound exit only to Tanger Outlet Boulevard, westbound exit and entrance only to Mall Drive
215.5346.8215 SC 642 (Dorchester Road)
216.3348.1216 SC 7 (Cosgrove Avenue) – Federal ComplexSigned as exits 216A (south) and 216B (north)
Charleston217.3349.7217 US 52 (North Meeting Street) / Port Access Road / Bainbridge AvenueTo Hugh K. Leatherman Sr. Terminal. Signed as 217/218 eastbound, 218 westbound
219.0352.4219ARutledge Avenue – The CitadelEastbound exit and westbound entrance
219.3352.9219BMorrison Drive / East Bay Street (US 52 Spur)Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
220.2354.4220ARomney StreetWestbound exit only
220.3354.5220B
US 17 north – Mount Pleasant, Georgetown
Western end of US 17 overlap; signed as exit 220 eastbound; no eastbound entrance
220.4354.7221BMeeting Street – Visitor Center, DowntownEastbound left exit only
220.7355.2King Street (US 78)Eastbound left exit only
221A
US 17 south – Savannah
Eastern end of US 17 overlap; continuation beyond eastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Google (July 4, 2013). "Interstate 26 in South Carolina" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  2. ^ South Carolina Interstate 26 (Interstate Rest Areas)
  3. ^ "SC Rest Areas Map". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  4. ^ South Carolina Weigh Station & DOT Information (Coops are Open)
  5. ^ Distance between Exits 172 A-B (US 15) and eastbound Truck Weigh Station (Google Maps)
  6. ^ a b "Economic Development History of Interstate 26 in South Carolina". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Another Stretch of I-26 is Open". The News and Courier. 24 September 1962. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. ^ Littlefield, Susan-Elizabeth (2011). "DOT looking for suggestions to fix 'malfunction junction'". Columbia, SC: WIS. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Behre, Robert (October 3, 2016). "Get out of town: I-26 lane reversal may get real test Epic traffic snarl during Hurricane Floyd led to change". The Post and Courier. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  10. ^ Jackson, Angie (September 10, 2018). "I-26 east to close from Columbia to Charleston early Tuesday to set up for lane reversal". The Post and Courier. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Daprile, Lucas (2019-09-04). "McMaster will keep I-26 lanes reversed for an additional two hours". The State.
  12. ^ "I-26 exit ramps to close for new port access project to begin". Charleston, SC: WCBD-TV. November 18, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Wren, David (February 24, 2021). "Road linking I-26 to new Port of Charleston terminal opens to traffic". The Post and Courier. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  14. ^ "At last, I-26 widening is a priority". The Times and Democrat. October 28, 2018.
  15. ^ ROSE BROWN, MARTHA (23 April 2023). "S.C. kicks off Interstate 26 widening project". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  16. ^ Mitchell, Conner (7 August 2019). "SC DOT gathers feedback on ways to make Interstate 26 corridor less congested". Post and Courier. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  17. ^ Lawrence, Jordan (April 26, 2023). "'Malfunction Junction' work to close I-20 exit ramp onto I-26". Lexington County Chronicle. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  18. ^ Lawson, Walker (17 May 2023). "Arrowwood Road, off I-26, will soon be closed for 3 months". wltx.com. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  19. ^ Marchant, Bristow (16 May 2023). "Columbia road closure off I-26 in will last for 3 months". The State. Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  20. ^ "Construction Phasing". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  21. ^ "SCDOT Begins Work On Fixing I-26's 'Tangled Mess of Ramps'". Construction Equipment Guide. May 16, 2023. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  22. ^ Knich, Diane; McDermott, John (May 30, 2013). "Airport road projects to take off County Council vote begins process for new I-26 interchange, other improvements". The Post and Courier. Retrieved May 31, 2013.

External links


Interstate 26
Previous state:
North Carolina
South Carolina Next state:
Terminus