Downtown Augusta skyline as seen from the US 1 Exit in North Augusta (#17)
Interstate 520 begins at Interstate 20 in the northwest part of Augusta, and hooks around to the south and then east, crossing the Savannah River and crossing the Georgia — South Carolina state line before heading to the north to meet back up with Interstate 20. Its terminus is at Interstate 20 in North Augusta, South Carolina. The westernmost three miles are three lanes in each direction, with the remainder of the interstate having two lanes in each direction.
In Georgia, I-520 is named the Bobby Jones Expressway for golferBobby Jones; in South Carolina it is named the Palmetto Parkway for the sabal palmetto, the state tree. Exits 2–3 are named the Deputy James D. Paugh Memorial Highway after a Richmond County sheriff's deputy who was killed at Exit 3 when responding to reports of a gunman who was shooting at passing cars. I-520 loses its state route designation in South Carolina, as it does not co-number its interstates with state highway numbers.
Although undesignated, the Bobby Jones Expressway continues north of I-20 in Georgia to have an interchange with Scott Nixon Memorial Drive and is designated as Georgia State Route 232.
I-520 was constructed in stages, with the first opening in 1980 between I-20 in Augusta and Doug Barnard Parkway (exit 10). The section between Doug Barnard Parkway and Laney-Walker Boulevard (exit 16) opened in July 1998. On June 22, 2004, the section between Laney-Walker Boulevard and US 1/US 78/US 278 (exit 17) opened to traffic, with I-520 entering South Carolina. Phase 2 of the Palmetto Parkway stretching from Exit 17 to I-20 in North Augusta opened on December 17, 2009. With the completion of this final stretch I-520 is a loop that begins and ends at I-20, thus violating the numbering standard for Interstates, as loops technically should begin with even numbers (e.g., I-620).