South Carolina


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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This view looks at a snowy scene on South Carolina’s Highway 11. The route runs along the top of the state near the borders with North Carolina and Georgia. It is perhaps best known as the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway, and offers great views of the surrounding hills and mountains. The author was in South Carolina this weekend, and notes that the state’s new route markers are only about 50% updated in the upstate (the area around the I-85 corridor).

South Carolina Highway 11

South Carolina Highway 11

 (Click for a larger image)

They are appearing in a town near you!

We found a few instances of the new highway sign this weekend including a South Carolina 303 shield in Walterboro and several South Carolina 6 shields in Moncks Corner.

It appears that the standard 3di-width shield will be used as the default for all shields, as every shield for South Carolina 6 and South Carolina 6 Truck used the same base. 

Just caught this on a recent Southeast Roads Yahoo! Group post; on June 22, 2007, SCDOT unveiled a new highway shield design to replace the current black and white box shields used throughout the Palmetto State.

New South Carolina State Highway Sign Design, image created by Alex Nitzman

The state follows Oklahoma (2006) and Vermont (1995) as states that changed from a drab shield design. A grandfathering process of replacing signs that reach the end of their lifespan is underway. No new highway funds are used for the replacement project either as signs are replaced as needed.

Low and behold there is some classic button copy left in South Carolina, and it is found on the U.S. 76 & 378 freeway bypass of Sumter. While button copy was erased from the Interstate system, the last signs coming down on Interstate 585 in Spartanburg in 2006, the freeway at Sumter provides a look at much older signing practices within the Palmetto State. The following photo gallery features vintage signs found along the freeway. Signs on U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 76 Business 521 are not all button copy, but old nonetheless.

U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 76 Business & 521 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 76 Business & 521 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 76 Business & 521
U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound at U.S. 76 Business east & 521 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 15 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound at U.S. 15
U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching U.S. 401 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound at U.S. 401 U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound approaching their split
U.S. 76 & 378 eastbound split at the return of U.S. 76 Business U.S. 378 westbound approaching the merge with U.S. 76 U.S. 378 westbound approaching at the merge with U.S. 76 and beginning of U.S. 76 Business west
U.S. 76 & 378 westbound approaching U.S. 401 U.S. 76 & 378 westbound at U.S. 401 U.S. 76 & 378 westbound approaching U.S. 15
U.S. 76 & 378 westbound at U.S. 15 U.S. 76 & 378 westbound approaching U.S. 521 U.S. 76 & 378 westbound at U.S. 521 and the merge with U.S. 76 Business

All photos taken May 29, 2007.

Over the last few weeks I’ve taken time to fill in some of the gaps and otherwise expand our coverage of Interstate 95 from Savannah, Georgia north to the Virginia State line, and from New Haven, Connecticut to the Rhode Island state line as part over an overall effort to cover the freeway on AARoads. Carter documented much of Interstate 95 in the Carolinas during Summer of 2005 and his efforts are now online covering South Carolina north from Walterboro to Interstate 26 and from Florence, SC to the Virginia state line. Our Connecticut coverage extends the coverage northward including every northbound exit along the 111.57-mile route.

Coverage to be added later includes portions of the freeway in the Boston area, New Hampshire, and Maine. Gaps to fill include sections in Florida, New Jersey, and updates to the Virginia guides.

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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Day three involved a short excursion into Charleston, North Charleston, James Island, and the Battery.

Entering Charleston via Interstate 26 eastbound, new signs for the U.S. 17 Arthur Ravenel Bridge adorn sign bridges along the freeway. Compare this image to that from 2004.

South Carolina 700 (Folly Road Boulevard) splits from U.S. 17 just west of the Ashley River. South Carolina 700 spurs southward onto James Island. South Carolina 171 ties into South Carolina 700 via Wesley Drive with the two of them sharing pavement south to Maybank Highway on James Island itself. There South Carolina 700 heads west toward Rockville while South Carolina 171 south heads south to Folly Beach. An interchange joins U.S. 17, South Carolina 61, and South Carolina 700.

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Day 2 involves a ride east to Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, North Carolina to check out the fairly new South Carolina 22 (Veterans Highway) and 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway) freeways, Myrtle Beach itself, and the new Interstate 140 in Wilmington among other things.

In Summerville, the interchange between U.S. 17 Alternate and Interstate 26 exists within a commercial district based upon big box retail. As such, the interchange garners a lot of traffic from the freeway for the services that the nearby businesses provide. Looking at the satellite image of the interchange, it’s quite apparent that the full-cloverleaf interchange was recently altered to that of a six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange, ala Interstate 65 at U.S. 90 and U.S. 45 in Mobile, Alabama and Interstate 385 at South Carolina 291 in Greenville, South Carolina. The addition of traffic lights to an already congested stretch of U.S. 17A does not help, but at least there are still two ramps per direction from Interstate 26.

U.S. 17 Alternate joins U.S. 521 on their final approach to Georgetown and junction U.S. 17. Just ahead of their respective ends, U.S. 17 Alternate turns onto Church Street for 1.5 blocks to its junction with U.S. 17 and U.S. 701. U.S. 521 remains straight and ends at U.S. 17 on its own. An end sign is even in place to herald the conclusion of the two-state highway.

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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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