Interstate 26 in South Carolina

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Interstate 26 marker

Interstate 26
Route information
Maintained by SCDOT
Length 220.7 mi[1] (355.2 km)
Existed 1960 – present
Major junctions
West end I-26 at the NC line near Landrum
  I-85 near Spartanburg
I-385 in Clinton
I-20 near Columbia
I-126 in Columbia
I-77 in Cayce
I-95 near Holly Hill
I-526 in North Charleston
East end US 17 in Charleston
Location
Counties Spartanburg, Laurens, Newberry, Lexington, Richland, Calhoun, Orangeburg, Dorchester, Berkeley, Charleston
Highway system

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, in Charleston, South Carolina. It is also the longest interstate highway in South Carolina.

Route description[edit]

I-26 runs 220 miles through South Carolina. Mile markers run from west (north) to east (south). Mile Marker 0 is in the mountains at the NC 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 towards 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 towards 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).

History[edit]

East I-26 in South Carolina at mile marker 79, just south of Newberry

Construction of I-26 began in 1957 in the Columbia area with the 9-mile (14 km) section from the Broad River to near Irmo.[2] 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 6-mile (9.7 km) section from SC 210 to US 15 opened in September 1962.[3] Construction proceeded in stages heading both west up towards Greenville and east towards 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 of I-26 were completed by February 1969.[2]

In the 1980s-90s, I-26 around Columbia was widened from four to six lanes. In the mid-90s, 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 off-ramp and westbound on-ramps with US 17 south. In the mid-2010s, I-26 was widened SE of Columbia from I-77 to Old Sandy Run Rd. Starting in 2019 or 2020, a long stretch of I-26 NW of Columbia will begin widening construction from four to six lanes from SC 202 at Little Mountain to US 76/176 at Irmo.

In 2011, a plan to add a lane in each direction between Broad River Road and St. Andrews Road through "Malfunction Junction" had $8.5 million in funding but was expected to start sometime after 2012 and take two years.[4]

On October 5, 2016, I-26 had all lanes converted to westbound only, from I-77 to I-526, due to Hurricane Matthew.[5] This was done again on September 11, 2018 due to Hurricane Florence.[6] The lane reversal is still in effect as of September 12, 2018.

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; construction and reopening planned for 2019.[7]

Auxiliary routes in South Carolina[edit]

Interstate City Type Notes
I-126.svg Interstate 126 Columbia Spur
I-326.svg Interstate 326 Columbia Spur Unsigned designation. Decommissioned.
I-526.svg Interstate 526 Charleston Spur

Exit list[edit]

CountyLocationmi[1]kmExitDestinationsNotes
Spartanburg0.00.0 I-26 west – Hendersonville, AshevilleContinuation 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 Bus. – 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, GreenvilleWestbound 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
Newberry66.2106.566Road 32 – Jalapa
71.5115.172 SC 121 – Newberry, Whitmire
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 RockWest 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)
Columbia107.6173.2108ABush River Road
107.8173.5108B I-126 east / US 76 east – Downtown ColumbiaEast end of US 76 overlap
LexingtonWest Columbia109.7176.5110 US 378 – Lexington, West Columbia
111.3179.1111 US 1 to SC 12 – Lexington, West ColumbiaSigned 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
119.5192.3119 US 21 / US 176 – St. Matthews, Dixiana
Calhoun124.6200.5125Old Sandy Run Road – GastonClosed during USMC Mud Run
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. MatthewsSigned as exits 145A (south) and 145B (north)
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
Berkeley194.4312.9194Road 16 – Jedburg, Pinopolis
Summerville197.5317.8197Nexton Parkway – Summerville, Cane BayUnder Construction, to be completed in 2018 [8]
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, LadsonSigned as exits 205A (west) and 205B (east); to Charleston Southern University
Future DriveProposed interchange (funded only for right of way procurement)[9]
208.1334.9209A US 52 / US 78 – Goose Creek, Moncks CornerWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
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)
Charleston217.5350.0217 US 52 (North Meeting Street)Closed November 19, 2016; to be reconfigured by 2019[7]
218.0350.8218Spruill Avenue – Federal ComplexClosed November 19, 2016; to be reconfigured and become Port Access Road by 2019[7]
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, GeorgetownNorth end of US 17 overlap; signed as exit 220 eastbound
220.4354.7221A US 17 south – SavannahSouth end of US 17 overlap; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
220.4354.7221B US 52 (Meeting Street) – Charleston DowntownEastbound exit and westbound entrance
I-26 officially ends .3 miles (0.48 km) at the remnants of old exit 221
East end of I-26
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Google (July 4, 2013). "Interstate 26 in South Carolina" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Economic Development History of Interstate 26 in South Carolina". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Another Stretch of I-26 is Open". The News and Courier. 24 September 1962. Retrieved 7 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Littlefield, Susan-Elizabeth (2011). "DOT looking for suggestions to fix 'malfunction junction'". Columbia, SC: WIS. Retrieved July 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ a b c "I-26 exit ramps to close for new port access project to begin". Charleston, SC: WCBD-TV. November 18, 2016. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Annie (March 21, 2016). "Groundbreaking for new I-26 interchange in Berkeley County". Charleston, SC: WCBD-TV. Retrieved February 16, 2017. 
  9. ^ 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[edit]

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata


Interstate 26
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