Interstate 526 in South Carolina
Interstate 526 or I -526 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of South Carolina. The highway forms a bypass of the coastal city of Charleston. Interstate 526 is 31 kilometers long.
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The terminus of I-526 at Mount Pleasant.
Interstate 526 forms a half ring road from Charleston and begins and ends on US 17, which is the main coastal route. Interstate 526 provides a connection for through traffic along the coast, as well as connecting parts of the Charleston metropolitan area that are separated by rivers and estuaries. The ring road has 2×2 lanes and has several bridges over the rivers and wetlands. On the north side of Charleston is the only freeway interchange, with Interstate 26.
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Before the construction of I-526, traffic was dependent on the bridges of US 17, which provided access to various parts of the metropolitan area through the center. Charleston at that time had grown mostly north-south along I-26, which sits on a spit of land surrounded by swamps and tidal rivers. Later, the coastal region west and east of Charleston began to urbanize, increasing traffic between parts of the region, but all of this had to go through downtown.
Interstate 526 was not an originally planned Interstate Highway. Construction on the highway began in 1979 on the west side of Charleston, the northwest quadrant between US 17 and I-26 was constructed first and opened in 1982 as a bridge over the Ashley River, which has not yet connected to other major highways. In 1985, the highway was extended south to US 17 west of Charleston and was then numbered State Route 31. In 1987, the highway was extended north to International Boulevard, where Charleston’s airport is located.
In 1989, I-526 joined Interstate 26 north of Charleston. At that time, the highway was numbered Interstate 526. A major opening followed on March 10, 1992, when the stretch opened from I-26 to Long Point Road, which is most of the northeast quadrant and included bridges over the Cooper River and the Wando River. In 1994, a second extension opened to US 17 east of Charleston. This completed I-526 around Charleston in its familiar form.
State Route 30 opened southwest of Downtown Charleston in 1996. This stretch is considered part of the future I-526, but does not yet connect to it.
It is planned to extend I-526 even further on the west side of Charleston, up to James Island, requiring two new bridges. However, the financing of the project has always been a problem. In 2015, the cost was estimated at $725 million. In September 2019, the financing for this project was completed.
39,000 vehicles drive daily from US 17 on the west side of Charleston, rising to 79,000 vehicles on the bridge over the Ashley River and 89,000 vehicles between the airport and the interchange with I-26. East of the interchange there are 76,000 vehicles per day, dropping to 69,000 vehicles on the Cooper River bridge and 63,000 vehicles per day on the Wando River bridge. After that, it drops further to 53,000 vehicles per day until US 17 in Mount Pleasant.
South Carolina Interstate 585
Interstate 585 or I -585 is a short Interstate Highway in the US state of South Carolina. The highway opens up the center of Spartanburg, a regional city with a population of 40,000, and is unique in that the road does not connect to any other Interstate Highway. I-585 is less than 4 kilometers long.
The end of I-585 in Spartanburg.
I-585 is a continuation of US 176 that forms a bypass of Downtown Spartanburg. I-585 begins at US 221 and travels 2×2 lanes north through the suburbs of Spartanburg. I-585 has a tight cloverleaf cloverleaf with the Business Route of I-85 and then rejoins US 176.
I-585 is one of the oldest highways in South Carolina and opened to traffic in 1957.
Interstate 73 in South Carolina
Interstate 73 or I -73 is a planned Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The highway partially uses existing SR-22 around Myrtle Beach, on the Atlantic Ocean, and then continues through Mullins, Latta, and Bennettville to the North Carolina border, where Interstate 73 in North Carolina continues. One crosses Interstate 95 at Latta. The route would be approximately 150 kilometers long.