Georgia


Started the final day of the trip in Cayce, South Carolina. Began by poking around downtown Columbia briefly before heading west to Saluda, SC and Athens, GA. Ended up back in Atlanta and took Interstate 20 west to Birmingham and then south on I-65.

Counter-intuitive shield assembly posted for South Carolina 12 along U.S. 21-176-321 (Huger Street) northbound in Columbia. South Carolina 12 follows a one-way street couplet of Hampton Street (east) and Taylor Street (west) from Jarvis Klapman Boulevard to Park Street in downtown.

U.S. 21-176-321 turn southward onto Huger Street from Elmwood Avenue. While the only Business Spur I-126 sign disappeared a few years ago, the remainder of the junction with Interstate 126 remains virtually unchanged from 2004.

Interstate 126 west defaults onto Interstate 26 west ahead of the junction with Interstate 20 (Exit 107). The freeway mainline merges onto I-26 from the left. Motorists taking the I-20 ramp simply merge onto I-26 from the right ahead of the Exit 107 full-cloverleaf interchange. U.S. 76 is the only US Route in the Columbia area to follow a freeway. It joins Interstate 126 from Elmwood Avenue and continues on I-26 west to Exit 101A.

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Road news and notes from the first day of a six-day drive from the Gulf Coast to Cleveland and back.

Traveling the Ross Clark Circle around Dothan, pictured here is the approach of the U.S. 84 west and U.S. 431 northbound split. The city of Dothan has sought a freeway for years, but none remains planned. The circle is typical of an older bypass around an Alabaman city. Access is not controlled and commercial development and signalized intersections are too numerous.

Looking south at progress on the Glenwood bypass of U.S. 431 in southern Russell County, Alabama. The new four-lane alignment should be completed later this fall, bring U.S. 431 to four overall lanes between Phenix City and Dothan, Alabama.

A 2008-09 project added a new folded diamond interchange to the U.S. 80 freeway between Phenix City, Alabama and Columbus, Georgia with Riverchase Drive. This exit opens up land along the Chattahoochee River for development and provides an additional north-south corridor into Phenix City via 5th Avenue.

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The third day of the southern trip from July, 2008. And the fourth, since a lot of the third day was unfortunately spent in boring parts of Tennessee.


Somewhere in all that kudzu, there is an old US-11 bridge.

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Georgia was the one of a few southeastern states to openly embrace the concept of using Interstate Business Loops in the early days. North Carolina had its loops through Lexington, Fayetteville, and Rocky Mount, before the urban freeway loops of Winston-Salem and Greensboro (of which Business Loop I-40 was recently decommissioned) joined the list. Those routes represented temporary Interstate alignments or former Interstate alignments. South Carolina contributed with its Business Spur series, which consisted of loosely signed (except for Business Spur Interstate 20) continuations of Interstate freeway ends. They too added a business loop freeway in 1992.

In Georgia however, Business Routes for both Interstates 75 and 95 represented neither former nor temporary paths of their parent freeways or their ends. Interstates 16, 20 and 85 were ignored, while Interstate 95 gained routes in Brunswick and Darien, and Interstate 75 gained routes in Valdosta, Tifton, Cordele (?), and perhaps another city or two (if you know, let us know!).

So are the routes still alive? Today, the majority of the routes remaining are hard to follow. The Brunswick business spur is gone, and only one stand alone shield remains for Business Loop Interstate 95 at Darien to go with signs on the freeway mainline still touting the route. Along Interstate 75, business loop shields are posted for the Tifton route and for the north end of the Valdosta route, but nothing remains in Cordele or anywhere else. Once away from the freeway, the remaining routes are almost nonexistent.

While we cannot fully attest to how well the Tifton route is signed, we have explored the Valdosta one several occasions:

Business Loop Interstate 75 shields were already removed from Exit 16 guide signs, yet this lone shield assembly was posted in 2005 along the then five-way overlap east. Photo taken 05/28/05.

Georgia 94 was removed from the overlap including both the Interstate 75 guide signs and the U.S. 84 & 221 shield assemblies by 2008. Business Loop Interstate 75 gained a fresh shield in the process. Photo taken 09/28/08.
However as U.S. 84 east & 221 north continue into downtown, all Business Loop Interstate 75 shields disappear.

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We rendezvoused in Savannah last week and drove out to Tybee Island to see the east end of U.S. 80. Low and behold, and appropriate given the previous post, a new end sign is posted!

Supposedly Tybee Island officials view San Diego as more of an exotic destination than say Dallas or Mesquite, even though U.S. 80 hasn’t traveled to S.D. in decades!

Today’s thoughts involve reflections on the Interstate 95 corridor between Florida and the northeast U.S. The reviled freeway in some cases, Interstate 95 suffers from overrunning by travelers headed to/from Florida, a number that increases significantly every year. Respective DOT’s are trying to keep up with growth with various expansion and interchange projects throughout the 800-mile drive from Daytona Beach northward to Washington, D.C. Profiled below are some of the construction projects we’ve encountered over the last few weeks. 

Interstate 95 is rather docile in Volusia County south of Interstate 4, but north of it is a different story. The influx of traffic from Orlando and its array of resort areas puts a crush of traffic on the freeway between Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. Surprisingly not all of this corridor is yet to six-lane capacity. St. Johns and Volusia Counties are already six-lanes, but Flagler County is not. Therefore crews are out working on the expansion of Interstate 95 to eliminate the bottleneck between Interstate 4 and Interstate 295. From the FDOT website, expansion of the 18.6-mile stretch in Flagler County began on March 14, 2005. Completion date is unclear.

In a related project pertaining to the Interstate 95 corridor, upgrading of the Florida 9A (Future Interstate 295) diamond interchange with Florida 202 (J. Turner Butler Boulevard – JTB) is also underway. Florida 9A provides an eastern bypass of downtown Jacksonville as well as a commuter route for southeast Jacksonville. The substandard interchange between the two freeways is the only thing preventing the eastern beltway from becoming part of the Interstate 295 corridor. Upon completion of the $80.5-million project, high-speed flyovers will shuttle motorists between Interstate 295 and the JTB. Work began in July 2005 with a 2009 completion date anticipated.

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The journey northward took place on a warm November day interspersed with blue and milky skies. We opted for a non-Interstate routing from High Springs northward through Lake City, Homerville, Jessup, and Hinesville, Georgia. That allowed us to see some new roadways, garner a few more counties (we do that obsessive thing too!), and check out a few U.S. highway ends for Dale Sanderson’s U.S. Highway Ends

I won’t bore you with the detailed routing and rather will focus on some of the roadworthy highlights along the drive.

Lake City lies near the cross roads of Interstate 10 and 75 in north Florida. The town is the control point of Interstate 10 west from Jacksonville and east from Tallahassee. You may not think much of it by its presence on the map, but its surprisingly sprawly, especially along U.S. 90 east of Interstate 75 and U.S. 41/441 heading south of town. Downtown meanwhile retains some charm, echoing Lake City’s history as a smaller town no doubt. Pictured here is U.S. 441 (Marion Street) north at U.S. 90 (Duval Street).

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I’m starting this roadtrip summary on day 4, as I have yet to retrieve the photos for Days 1 through 3 from Justin’s laptop. Rather then wait on that, I will just start from the back ala the Washington Trip reports, and focus on the drive from South Carolina back to Florida. The trip overall involved traveling north to visit my brother in South Carolina, and spending daytrips to see Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Charleston.

Day 4 starts on the road at around 11 am and proceeds west from Summerville, SC to Interstate 95 on  U.S. 17 Alternate. A little bit about U.S. 17A first: U.S. 17 veers northeast from the Interstate 95 corridor at Yemassee, South Carolina for Charleston and the coast. U.S. 17A provides an overall inland bypass route for the U.S. 17 routing between Yemassee and Georgetown. While Interstate 95 and other freeways have dwarfed the U.S. highway system in importance overall, U.S. 17 and the Atlantic Coast from Savannah northward generally is not served by an Interstate highway. So Interstate 95’s path provides a long-distance bypass of the coast, but does not serve the regional needs such as movements between Savannah and Myrtle Beach. That is where U.S. 17 Alternate comes into play. However the path is two-lanes for the most part, and between Summerville and Moncks Corner, congestion and heavy development rules the road. Traffic counts are relatively low in the rural areas though.

U.S. 15 ends at junction U.S. 17 Alternate within the town of Walterboro, South Carolina. The U.S. highway travels northward from here all the way to Painted Post, New York, and originally continued from there to downtown Rochester, New York.

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Situated in southwest Georgia is the mid-sized city of Albany. The city is the largest west of Interstate 75 and south of Columbus, and is also home to one of two freeways in far southwest Georgia that are not part of an Interstate highway.

The freeway, known as the Liberty Expressway (though not signed as such), carries in part U.S. 19, U.S. 82, Georgia 3, Georgia 300, and Georgia 520 (Georgia GRIP Corridor Z). It bypasses downtown Albany and the commercial strips of U.S. 19 Business (Olgethorpe Boulevard) & 82 Business (Slappey Drive), and also provides a truck route for through traffic between Columbus and Interstate 75.

While the road is similar in scope to the Bainbridge Bypass, with diamond interchanges, older concrete bridges (both span the Flint River too), the Liberty Expressway does include full shoulders and a 65 MPH speed limit for part of its route.

Let’s dodge some rain drops and take a look…

U.S. 82 & Georgia 520 turn onto the Liberty Expressway at the trumpet interchange with Dawson Road. An Interstate 75 shield appears, even though the freeway is 45 miles to the east. Dawson Road meanwhile travels southeast into downtown Albany.

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