Interstate 85 in South Carolina

From the AARoads Wiki: Read about the road before you go
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Interstate 85

I-85 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by SCDOT
Length106.28 mi[1][2] (171.04 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-85 at Georgia state line
Major intersections
North end I-85 at North Carolina state line
CountryUnited States
StateSouth Carolina
CountiesOconee, Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, Cherokee
Highway system
SC 83 SC 86

Interstate 85 (I-85) in the U.S. state of South Carolina runs northeast–southwest through Upstate South Carolina. Connecting regionally with Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, it became the first Interstate Highway in South Carolina to have its originally planned mileage completed.

Route description

Georgia state line to Greenville

I-85 enters South Carolina along the Vandiver Bridge from Georgia, crossing over Tugaloo River/Lake Hartwell.[3] It is immediately followed by exit 1, where the welcome center and the start of South Carolina Highway 11 (SC 11; Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) are located. For the next 19 miles (31 km), I-85 continues along the north shores of Lake Hartwell, crossing over some parts of it. At the U.S. Highway 76 (US 76)/SC 28 interchange (exit 19), the highway widens to six lanes. Continuing northeast, US 29 joins I-85 (exit 34), near Piedmont, as they run concurrently until after they cross the Saluda River.

Greenville to Spartanburg

I-85 southbound at interchange with I-185/US 29 in Greenville

I-85 bypasses Greenville to the south but provides a link into the city via auxiliary routes I-185 and I-385. US 29 splits from I-85 and joins I-185 toward downtown Greenville.

Two key upstate businesses can be seen from this portion of the Interstate. One is Michelin's North American headquarters (exit 54) and the other is the BMW plant, located in Greer (exit 60). I-85 also passes Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (exit 57), which serves the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson metropolitan area.

Spartanburg to North Carolina state line

Near Spartanburg, I-85 takes a northern bypass of the city with a higher speed limit of 70 mph (110 km/h), while an older alignment designated as I-85 Business (I-85 Bus.) freeway loop continues along a more direct path at a lower speed limit of 55 mph (89 km/h).[4] Along the bypass routing, I-85 connects with I-26 (exit 70) and indirectly connects with I-585, via US 176 (exit 72).

Northeast of exit 80, I-85 dips below a 22-foot-5-inch-high (6.83 m) railroad bridge originally used by the Clinchfield Railroad (now CSX Transportation's Blue Ridge Subdivision), which also contains a provision for a frontage road along the southbound lane named Dewberry Road. At milemarker 91 in Gaffney, travelers will not be able to miss the Peachoid, a large water tower with its top shaped like a peach, representing one of the state's most important crops. At milemarker 95, an old plantation cemetery is located on a knoll in the median of I-85 (more visible to see on southbound lanes).[5] A 20-foot-6-inch-high (6.25 m) rail-trail bridge can be found in the vicinity of Blacksburg between exits 100 and 102. At milemarker 103 is the southbound welcome center. I-85 enters North Carolina 3.4 miles (5.5 km) later.[6]


The Oconee County Welcome Center is shared with the frontage road at northbound exit 1.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) operates and maintains two welcome centers and five rest areas along I-85. Welcome centers, which have a travel information facility on site, are located at the collector–distributor road for exit 1 (northbound) and around milemarker 103 (southbound); rest areas are located at milemarkers 17 (northbound) and 24 (southbound). Common at all locations are public restrooms, public telephones, vending machines, picnic area, and barbecue grills.[7]

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and State Transport Police (STP) operate and maintain one truck inspection/weigh station, located northbound at milemarker 9 in Fair Play.[8] The location utilizes weigh-in-motion that does not require commercial motor vehicles to leave the freeway to be weighed.


Michelin North American headquarters near Greenville at exit 54 in 2008

Established in 1959, I-85 originally ran along the newly widened four-lane section of US 29, from Fort Prince Boulevard (SC 129, exit 68) to the North Carolina state line. Construction also started around that time extending I-85 from Fort Prince Boulevard to I-185, south of Greenville. In 1961, construction started on another section, from the Georgia state line to US 29, near Piedmont. In 1962, US 29 was removed from the entire existing section of I-85 at that time.

By 1964, I-85 was extended south from Fort Prince Boulevard to I-185/US 29. Also, smaller sections were open: from the Georgia state line to Road 23 (exit 4) and from SC 24/SC 243 (exit 11) to US 178 (exit 21). By 1967, I-85 was completed in the state. It was South Carolina's first Interstate Highway fully completed.[9]

In 1995, I-85 was moved onto a new six-lane freeway north of its existing route near Spartanburg, from milemarkers 69–77. The old alignment became the I-85 Bus. freeway loop. In 1998, exit 46B was added, connecting to Pleasantburg Drive (SC 291).[10]

Being a four-lane freeway since inception, the first widening to six lanes (excluding the new freeway near Spartanburg) was completed in 1998, from US 276 to I-385. By end of 2003, I-85 was widened to six lanes from US 76/SC 28 (exit 19) north to US 221 (exit 78). The last original 27 miles (43 km) segment between milemarker 79 and the North Carolina state line is currently in the process of being widened to six lanes, which includes replacing and, in some cases, eliminating many of the previously intriguing exit/entrance ramps.

The original low 15-foot-high (4.6 m) railroad bridge originally used by the Clinchfield Railroad east of exit 80, was replaced by a 22-foot-5-inch-high (6.83 m) bridge, which also contains provisions for Dewberry Road. The former 23-foot-6-inch-high (7.16 m) decrepit railroad bridge in the vicinity of Blacksburg between exits 100 and 102 was replaced by a slightly lower bridge for a future rail-trail.

Exit list

Tugaloo River /
Lake Hartwell
I-85 south (SR 403) – Atlanta
Continuation into Georgia
S. Earnest Vandiver Bridge; Georgia–South Carolina state line
SC 11 north (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) – Walhalla
Northbound exit includes South Carolina Welcome Center; southern terminus of SC 11
Fair Play2.293.692
SC 59 north – Fair Play, Seneca
To SC 243 / Road 23 – Fair Play
SC 24 / SC 243 west – Anderson, Townville
Eastern terminus of SC 243
13.6621.9814 SC 187 – Pendleton, Clemson
19.4231.2519 US 76 / SC 28 – Clemson, AndersonSigned as exits 19A (east) and 19B (west)
20.6433.2221 US 178 – Anderson, Liberty
27.1443.6827 SC 81 – Anderson
31.7851.1432 SC 8 – Pelzer, Belton
US 29 south – Williamston, Anderson
South end of US 29 overlap; Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Piedmont35.2056.6535 SC 86 – Piedmont, Easley
Powdersville38.9362.6539River Road – Piedmont
40.1964.6840 SC 153 – Easley
I-185 / US 29 north – Greenville, Columbia
North end of US 29 overlap; south I-185 toll road
Greenville42.7568.8044A SC 20 (Piedmont Highway)Southbound exit and northbound entrance
43.2169.5444B US 25 (White Horse Road)
45.3372.9546AAugusta Road
45.5373.2746B SC 291 (Pleasantburg Drive)
46.0174.0546CMauldin Road
48.1777.5248 US 276 – Mauldin, GreenvilleSigned as exits 48A (east) and 48B (west)
50.3781.0651A SC 146 (Woodruff Road)
50.8081.7551 I-385 – Columbia, GreenvilleSigned as exits 51B (south) and 51C (north)
53.6886.3954Pelham Road
SpartanburgGreer55.9690.0656 SC 14 – Greer, PelhamSouthbound exit combined with exit 57
56.8391.4657  Aviation Drive – GSP International Airport
57.2492.1258Brockman McClimon Road
59.9296.4360 SC 101 – Woodruff, Greer
63.32101.9063 SC 290 – Moore, Duncan
65.89106.0466 US 29 – Spartanburg, Wellford, Lyman
SC 129 north – Wellford, Greer
Wellford signed northbound, Greer signed southbound
I-85 BL north – Spartanburg
Northbound exit and southbound entrance
70.62113.6570 I-26 – Columbia, Asheville
US 176 to I-585 – Spartanburg, Inman
Boiling Springs74.87120.4975 SC 9 – Spartanburg, Boiling Springs
I-85 BL south – Spartanburg
78.46126.2778 US 221 – Chesnee, Spartanburg
79.80128.4380Road 57, Gossett Road
82.11132.1482Bud Arthur Bridge RoadPermanently closed as of 2021, was northbound exit only[11]
83.38134.1983 SC 110 – Cowpens, Chesnee
Cherokee86.58139.3487Road 39, Green River Road
SC 105 south – Gaffney
SC 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) to SC 150 – Gaffney, Chesnee
SC 18 to SC 150 / Pleasant School Road – Gaffney, Boiling Springs
96.10154.6696 SC 18 – Shelby
98.04157.7898Frontage RoadPermanently closed as of 2020, was northbound exit only[12]
99.33159.86100Blacksburg Highway

SC 5 south / SC 198 east – Blacksburg, Rock Hill
Northern terminus of SC 5; western terminus of SC 198
103.95167.29104Road 99, Tribal Road
105.67170.06106 US 29 – Blacksburg, Grover
I-85 north – Charlotte
Continuation into North Carolina
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

I-85 in South Carolina has three auxiliary routes and one business route. I-185 enters Greenville from the southwest and runs between I-85 and I-385 as a toll road. I-385 enters Greenville from the east and connects I-85 with I-26 toward Columbia. I-585 enters Spartanburg from the northwest between I-85 and US 221 and becomes North Pine Street; it does not connect with I-85 as of 2022. I-85 Bus. in Spartanburg is freeway grade throughout its length.


  1. ^ Starks, Edward (January 27, 2022). "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Archived from the original on September 20, 2023. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "STATEWIDE HIGHWAYS 2012". South Carolina Department of Transportation. 2012. Archived from the original on June 13, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  3. ^ " Vandiver Bridge". Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  4. ^ "Interstate". Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  5. ^ "Gaffney, South Carolina: Graveyard in the I-85 Median". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  6. ^ Google (October 4, 2014). "Google Street View of I-85 from southbound Welcome Center to North Carolina state line" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "SC Rest Areas Map". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Fair Play Weigh Station Information". Coops are July 19, 2012. Archived from the original on May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "I-85 The Boom Belt, South Carolina - General Highway History - Highway History - Federal Highway Administration". Archived from the original on May 13, 2022. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  10. ^ "Mapmikey's South Carolina Highways Page: Interstate 85". Archived from the original on November 13, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  11. ^ "I-85 RECONSTRUCTION AND WIDENING MM 77-98". SCDOT. April 13, 2016. Archived from the original on June 2, 2022. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  12. ^ "I-85 IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (PHASE III) IN CHEROKEE COUNTY". SCDOT. March 14, 2017. Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved September 7, 2022.

External links

Interstate 85
Previous state:
South Carolina Next state:
North Carolina