Interstate 185 (South Carolina)

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Interstate 185 marker

Interstate 185
Southern Connector
I-185 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-85
Maintained by SCDOT
Length17.70 mi[2] (28.49 km)
Major junctions
South end I-385 / US 276 near Mauldin
North end US 29 in Greenville
Highway system
SC 185SC 186

Interstate 185 (I-185) is a 17.7-mile (28.5 km) highway located entirely in Greenville County, South Carolina. I-185 serves as a spur route of Interstate 85 into the city of Greenville as well as a shortcut route for drivers accessing Interstate 385 from northbound I-85. A portion of this road is tolled and is known as the "Southern Connector".

Route description[edit]

I-185's northern portion starts at an at-grade intersection at Henrydale Ave. North of this intersection, US 29 continues as Mills Ave. into downtown Greenville. I-185 travels south with two lanes in each direction to its junction with I-85. At this junction, I-185 has only one lane of thru traffic each way; south of the junction, I-185 returns to two lanes in each direction. In addition, US 29 leaves I-185 and travels concurrently with I-85 for eight miles.

South of exit 12, I-185 has a toll in each direction, with one lane in each direction dedicated for travelers with the Palmetto Pass. At exit 10 (SC 20), travelers exiting NB I-185 and entering SB I-185 also are tolled. At this point, I-185 leaves the Greenville city limits and enters Golden Grove. Just north of exit 7 (US 25), I-185 reenters Greenville.

At exit 4 (Fork Shoals Rd), travelers exiting SB I-185 and entering NB I-185 are tolled. South of this interchange is another toll plaza for both directions, again with one lane in each direction for drivers with the Palmetto Pass.

Near the end of I-185's southern terminus at I-385, I-185 enters Mauldin. Exit 1A on I-185 NB, Neely Ferry Rd, allows access to Discovery Island. I-185 then splits; one lane exits rights and merges with I-385 SB, while other traffic continues straight to merge with I-385 NB. Traffic toward I-385 NB also can exit on SC 417, an exit with no number. At the merge with I-385 NB, I-185 shrinks to one lane. I-185 ends here.


I-185 was planned as part of a continuous route through Greenville on this 1955 map.

The northern portion, which runs from Interstate 85 to the Greenville city limits, was opened in the 1960s and is co-signed with US 29. The southern portion, which connects the I-85/I-185 interchange (exit 42) with the I-385/U.S. 276 interchange (exit 30), was opened as a toll road in 2001. This extension was dubbed the "Southern Connector" and increased I-185 from three to seventeen miles (27 km) in length.

Southern Connector[edit]

The Southern Connector was constructed as a public-private partnership between the South Carolina Department of Transportation and Interwest Carolina Transportation Group, LLC, a development team that included a not-for-profit corporation called Connector 2000 Association, Inc. (C2A).[3] Under this agreement, C2A operates the toll road under a fifty year license. They were responsible for financing, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the road during this period and the toll revenue would be used to pay them for these efforts. To finance the project, C2A sold bonds that were tax-exempt under IRS Rule 63-20, which provides that the bonds sold will be exempt if they finance an activity which is "public in nature."[4][5]

The highway opened in February 2001, nine months ahead of schedule.[6] By 2007, the Connector 2000 Association was having financial difficulties because ridership on the toll road was not meeting original estimates. In the fall of 2007, the association began looking for a concessionaire to take over the operation and financial liability of the toll road.[7] By early 2008, C2A had received a default notice from their bond trustee[8] In January 2010, the bond trustee missed an interest payment,[9] and the C2A was more than $8 million behind in its payments to SCDOT for the maintenance and license fees under their agreement.[10] On June 24, 2010, the Southern Connector filed for bankruptcy.[11]

The corporation emerged from bankruptcy on March 28, 2011 by restructuring bond debt and their concession and maintenance agreement with SCDOT.[12] Tolls were raised on January 2, 2012 as part of the settlement.[13]

In 2016, the Southern Connector surpassed 75 million toll transactions since its inception. [14] Between the two main toll plazas, the speed limit has been raised to 70 MPH. [15]


There are two toll plazas located along the Southern Connector, known as the east and west plazas. Toll booths are located on entrance/exit ramps on Fork Shoals Road (exit 4) and Piedmont Highway (exit 10). The toll plazas have both electronic toll collection (ETC) and cash lanes; toll booths located on ramps accept only ETC or exact change only. Those that do not have exact change or do not pay the toll can fill out a "Pledge Payment Form"; violators have 30 days to remit payment before administrative fees are added to the toll due.[16]

Palmetto Pass is the only form of electronic toll collection accepted on the Southern Connector.

Toll rates[edit]

Toll rates, as of January 2, 2020.[17][18]

Location Payment 2 axles 3 axles 4 axles 5 axles 6+ axles
East Plaza Cash $2.00 $4.20 $5.60 $7.00 $8.40
Pal Pass $1.75 $3.60 $4.80 $6.00 $7.20
Fork Shoals Road
Northbound entrance/Southbound exit ramps
Cash $1.25
Pal Pass $1.25
SC 20 (Piedmont Highway)
Northbound exit/Southbound entrance ramps
Cash $1.25
Pal Pass $1.25
West Plaza Cash $2.00 $4.20 $5.60 $7.00 $8.40
Pal Pass $1.75 $3.60 $4.80 $6.00 $7.20

Exit list[edit]

The entire route is in Greenville County.

Mauldin SC 417 (Laurens Rd) – Mauldin, SimpsonvilleUnsigned exit on I-185 SB ramp to I-385 NB; signed as exit 31A on I-385 SB exit ramp to I-185 NB
US 276 west – Mauldin, GreenvilleDirect access only from I-385 N exit 30 ramp to I-185 S
0.000.00 I-385 north – Greenville, Spartanburg, MauldinSouthern terminus
0.000.001B I-385 south to I-26 east – ColumbiaSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
0.250.401ANeely Ferry Road / Standing Springs RoadSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
2.43.9East Toll plaza
3.96.34Fork Shoals RoadTolled northbound exit ramp, southbound on ramp
7.011.37 US 25 (Augusta Road) – Ware Place, GreenvilleSigned as exits 7A (north) and 7B (south) northbound
Golden Grove9.815.810 SC 20 (Piedmont Highway) – Greenville, PiedmontTolled southbound exit ramp, northbound on ramp
11.218.0West Toll plaza
12.219.612 SC 153 north to US 123 – Easley, ClemsonSouthern terminus of SR 153
14.222.914 I-85 / US 29 south – Spartanburg, AtlantaSouthern end of US 29 concurrency; signed as exits 14A (north) and 14B (south)
Greenville15.224.515 US 25 (White Horse Road) – Travelers RestNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
16.025.716 US 25 / SC 20 (Grove Road) – PiedmontSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
17.7028.49 US 29 north (Mills Avenue) / Henrydale Avenue – GreenvilleNorthern terminus; northern end of US 29 concurrency; at-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ "I-185 in South Carolina".
  2. ^ "Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Federal Highway Administration.
  3. ^ Samuel, Peter (October 26, 2007). "Greenville Southern Connector up for concession offers – not-for-profit ailing". TollRoadsNews. Archived from the original on August 20, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  4. ^ "27-in-7 Peak Performance" (PDF). South Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 26, 2006.
  5. ^ Hedlund, Karen J. (May 1, 2001). "The Use of '63-20' Nonprofit Corporations in Infrastructure Facility Development". Nossaman Infrastructure.
  6. ^ "Partners unveil Southern Connector" (Press release). Southern Connector Toll Road. February 16, 2001. Archived from the original on April 1, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2010.
  7. ^ "Request for Toll Road Concessionaire Qualifications" (PDF). Connector 2000 Association. September 27, 2007.
  8. ^ "Notice of an Event of Default" (PDF). U.S. Bancorp. January 23, 2008.
  9. ^ "Event Notice No. 2010-1" (PDF). Connector 2000 Association. January 11, 2010.
  10. ^ "Balance Sheet" (PDF). Connector 2000 Association. September 30, 2009.
  11. ^ Bathon, Michael; McCarty, Dawn (June 25, 2010). "Connector 2000 Association Files Bankruptcy in South Carolina". Businessweek.
  12. ^ "Judge OKs Southern Connector's reorganization plan". SCBiz News. March 28, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  13. ^ "Southern Connector to bump rates in January". SCBiz News. December 29, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Our History". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  15. ^ "FAQ's". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  16. ^ "Southern Connector FAQ's". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  17. ^ "Southern Connector: Cash Toll Rates". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  18. ^ "Southern Connector: Pal Pass Toll Rates". South Carolina Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata