U.S. Route 17

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U.S. Route 17 marker

U.S. Route 17
Route information
Length: 1,206.47 mi[1] (1,941.63 km)
Existed: 1926[1] – present
Major junctions
South end: US 41 in Punta Gorda, FL
  I‑4 in Orlando, FL
I-95 (numerous locations)
I‑16 in Savannah, GA
I‑26 in Charleston, SC
US 701 in Georgetown, SC
US 501 in Myrtle Beach, SC
I‑40 at Wilmington, NC
I‑64 at Newport News, VA
I‑66 near Warrenton, VA
US 50 at Paris, VA
I‑81 at Winchester, VA
North end: US 11 / US 50 / US 522 in Winchester, VA
Highway system

U.S. Route 17 or U.S. Highway 17 (abbreviation U.S. 17, US 17, also known as the Coastal Highway) is a north–south United States highway. The highway spans the southeastern United States and is close to the Atlantic Coast for much of its length. The highway's southern terminus is at Punta Gorda, Florida, at an intersection with U.S. Route 41. Traveling north, US 17 joins up with US 50 in Paris, Virginia, and the northern terminus of US 17 is in downtown Winchester, Virginia. This is also the point at which the portion of US 50 called the Northwestern Turnpike begins.

Though U.S. Route 1 is generally considered to be the highway that runs alongside Interstate 95, US 17 runs parallel to I-95 for much of its extent, and even shares the same route for short spans in Fredericksburg and Ridgeland.

Route description[edit]

Lengths
  mi km
FL 294 473
GA 143 230
SC 221 356
NC 284 457
VA 255.09 410.53
Total 1189 1,914

Florida[edit]

US 17 begins in downtown Punta Gorda, Florida, at US 41 (Cross Street), just to the west of Tamiami Trail. After a brief jog east, it runs roughly north along the Peace River, through Arcadia, Zolfo Springs (where it crosses the Peace River), and Wauchula. At Fort Meade, it joins with US 98, which follows it northward (westward on US 98) until Bartow. While US 98 goes northwest, US 17 goes northeast.

US 17 begins a long concurrency with US 92 just north of Winter Haven in Lake Alfred (US 92 following eastbound), which takes both highways through Kissimmee, where they join US 192. Like US 92, US 17 roughly parallels Interstate 4 along the overlap. When all three meet US 441, US 192 follows US 441 southbound, while US 17/92 follows US 441 north into downtown Orlando. US 17/92 then splits from US 441 at SR 50 (Colonial Drive) and jogs east, splitting back north from SR 50 when it meets SR 15 (Mills Avenue).

In Seminole County, the redevelopment of the 17-92 Community Redevelopment Area is handled by the US 17-92 Community Redevelopment Agency, a component unit of the County government. In Sanford, Florida, US 17/92 crosses the St. Johns River into Volusia County via an unnamed bridge.

US 92 then splits away from US 17 north of DeLand, with US 92 continuing east to Daytona Beach as International Speedway Boulevard, while US 17 continues north toward Palatka, where it again crosses the St. Johns River.

In Clay County, US 17 runs through suburban Jacksonville. The northern stretch of US 17 in Clay County is known as Park Avenue.

In Jacksonville, the southern portion of US 17 is known as Roosevelt Boulevard. Here, the highway goes past Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax). Near downtown Jacksonville, US 17 joins Interstate 10 for approximately one mile, before merging into Interstate 95. US 17 then exits onto Union Street and continues as North Main Street until the Nassau County border.

In Nassau County, US 17 continues until it reaches the Georgia border, crossing over the St. Marys River.

Georgia[edit]

In Woodbine, Georgia, US 17 crosses the Satilla River by way of the J. Edwin Godley Bridge. In Brunswick, the route traverses the South Brunswick River over the Sidney Lanier Bridge, then across the Altamaha River bridge between Glynn County and McIntosh County. At the South Carolina state line, US 17 crosses the Savannah River on the Eugene Talmadge Bridge.

The section of US 17 known as the "Gateway to Historic Brunswick and The Golden Isles" was included in The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's 2006 list of Places in Peril.

South Carolina[edit]

US 17 enters South Carolina in Jasper County as a two-lane road and within 8 miles (13 km) enters Hardeeville, where it becomes a four-lane configuration. US 17 intersects Interstate 95 in Hardeeville and runs parallel to Interstate 95 until Ridgeland, where it merges with the interstate until Point South. At Point South, US 17 leaves Interstate 95 and heads eastward into northern Beaufort County, sharing a concurrency with U.S. 21 until Gardens Corner. US 21 splits off to Beaufort while US 17 heads northeast into the ACE Basin and Colleton County. This stretch of road is currently being upgraded from a two-lane to a four-lane configuration, due to safety concerns.

Once in Jacksonboro, the road enters Charleston County, crossing the Edisto River and regaining a four-lane configuration for the remainder of the state. The road passes through several rural communities as it approaches Charleston from the west. In Charleston, the 3.6-mile (5.8 km) section running from S.C. Highway 171 to Sam Rittenberg Boulevard has been named the "Charleston Nine Memorial Highway", in honor of nine Charleston firefighters killed in the line of duty in the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007.[2] US 17 passes through the West Ashley community before it traverses the Ashley River Drawbridges to the Charleston Peninsula, being routed north of the historical areas of the city. Upon reaching the Interstate 26 terminus, US 17 becomes limited-access and above grade as it approaches the Cooper River via the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The stretch of US 17 in Charleston is infamous among locals for its traffic congestion, especially on weekday mornings.

Upon crossing the river, the highway enters Mount Pleasant at grade and is signalized for several miles up through the second interchange with Interstate 526 and connecting roads to the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. The road leaves the Charleston metro area by entering the Francis Marion National Forest and going through the rural communities of Awendaw and McClellanville, where Hurricane Hugo made landfall in September 1989. US 17 continues on its northeastern journey to Georgetown and makes a spectacular crossing of the marsh-lined Santee River as it enters Georgetown County. After going around Georgetown and passing by DeBordieu, Pawleys Island, and Litchfield Beach, US 17 enters Horry County, passes Surfside Beach and Murrells Inlet, and arrives in Myrtle Beach, where it splits between a business route and the standard route, which remains west of the beach and tourist areas served by Business 17. The roads rejoin north of the city and continue as US 17 through Atlantic Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Little River before crossing into North Carolina.

North Carolina[edit]

Historical Marker on U.S. Route 17

In Wilmington, North Carolina, US 17 (here concurrent with Interstate 140) crosses the Northeast Cape Fear River between New Hanover County and Brunswick County over the Dan Cameron Bridge. Between New Bern and James City, US 17 (concurrent with US 70 and NC 55) crosses the Trent River by way of the Freedom Memorial Bridge. Farther east, between James City and Bridgeton, US 17, still concurrent with NC 55, crosses the Neuse River over the Neuse River Bridge.

In Washington, US 17 crosses the Pamlico River over the Pamlico-Tar River Bridge. Farther along, in Williamston, US 17 (concurrent with US 13) crosses the Roanoke River, then the Cashie River at Windsor. At the Bertie County-Chowan County line, US 17 traverses the Chowan River on the Chowan River Bridge, one of the longest bridges along US 17's route. In Perquimans County, US 17 (here concurrent with NC 37) crosses the Yeopim River and the Perquimans River at Hertford. Crossing into Pasquotank County over the Little River, US 17 enters Elizabeth City and begins concurrency with US 158. At Morgan's Corner, US 158 concurrency ends and US 17 route crosses the Pasquotank River into Camden County before heading north into Virginia.

Virginia[edit]

US 17 crosses the James River between Newport News and Isle of Wight County on the James River Bridge, a drawbridge which was formerly a toll bridge but is now toll-free, concurrent with U.S. Route 258. The route also crosses the York River between Gloucester County and York County at Yorktown on the George P. Coleman Bridge, a swing bridge which is also a (north-bound only) toll bridge. Finally, US 17 traverses the Rappahannock River between Stafford County and Spotsylvania County at Fredericksburg as it overlaps Interstate 95.

History[edit]

Florida[edit]

A US 17 shield used in Florida prior to 1993

From 1956 until 1993, US 17 signs in Florida featured black numbering on a yellow shield.[3] The "color-coding" of U.S. Routes by the Florida Department of Transportation was stopped when the state could no longer use Federal funds to replace the signs with anything but the standard black-and-white version; a few yellow US 17 signs remain.

South Carolina[edit]

US 17 has had slight variations over its history in South Carolina. US 17 once traversed the Cooper River on the Grace & Pearman Memorial Bridges before the Ravenel Bridge replaced both antiquated spans in 2005. US 17 also ran through downtown Myrtle Beach before the new bypass route was finished in order to alleviate heavy traffic. US 17 Alternate was commissioned as a route between Point South and Georgetown, mostly for trucks who wished to bypass Charleston and the weight restrictions of the former bridges.

Hurricane Charley Highway[edit]

On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall just before 4:00 p.m. local time near the southern terminus of US 17. Incredibly, Charley would either hit or threaten to hit the entire route of US 17, devastating almost the entire route in Florida, at least from Punta Gorda to well north of Orlando (when Charley followed the route of Interstate 4 out to sea). The Georgia stretch of US 17 was not hit, but was under a hurricane warning. When Charley made landfall again in South Carolina, its trail all the way through Virginia was close to the route of US 17.

Major intersections[edit]

Florida[edit]

Georgia[edit]

South Carolina[edit]

North Carolina[edit]

Virginia[edit]

See also[edit]

Related routes[edit]

Bannered and suffixed routes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b US Highways from US 1 to US 830 Robert V. Droz
  2. ^ U.S. 17 stretch to honor firefighters who died in sofa store blaze The Post and Courier, March 25, 2008. Accessed March 27, 2008.
  3. ^ "Florida in Kodachrome". Retrieved 6 October 2014. 
Browse numbered routes
SR 16 FL SR 18
SR 16 GA SR 18
SC 16 SC SC 18
NC 16 NC NC 18
SR 16 VA SR 18