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Interstate 26 East - Richland & Lexington Counties

Interstate 26 east
U.S. 176 (Broad River Road) and Interstate 26 meet for the first time in 71 miles at Exit 97 near Ballentine and the outskirts of the Irmo city limits. The US highway travels south out of Spartanburg through Union, Whitmire, and Pomaria before crossing paths with Interstate 26. Photo taken 04/15/12.
Interstate 26 eastbound at the folded-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 97) with U.S. 176 (Broad River Road). A connection with nearby Rauch Metz Road leads motorists west to U.S. 76 (Dutch Fork Road) midway between the communities of White Rock and Ballentine. Photo taken 04/15/12.
Interstate 26 lowers to cross Metz Branch after this eastbound reassurance assembly. Photo taken 04/15/12.
Irmo, a growing suburb with over 11,000, straddles the Lexington and Richland County lines mostly to the west of Interstate 26. The town center is an eight mile drive to the south. Photo taken 04/15/12.
One mile out from the six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 76 west & 176 (Broad River Road) on I-26 east. U.S. 76 & 176 combine three miles to the northwest and split at Interstate 26. Signs for Exit 101A omit U.S. 76 west due to its overlap with I-26 east into Columbia. Photo taken 01/18/04.
The freeway widens to six-lanes and speed limits reduce to 60 miles per hour just ahead of the Exit 101A off-ramp to U.S. 76 & 176 (Broad River Road) west. Photo taken 04/15/12.
U.S. 176 crosses east of Interstate 26 again from Exit 101B to northern Columbia. The two routes will come together one final time at Exit 115 in Cayce.
Exit 102A departs next for South Carolina 60 (Lake Murray Boulevard) west through central Irmo. Photo taken 04/15/12.

Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 east
South Carolina 60 follows Lake Murray Boulevard west to South Carolina 6 (North Lake Drive) and Bush River Road by Saluda Dam on Lake Murray. Photo taken 04/15/12.
A loop ramp (Exit 102B) carries eastbound motorists from Interstate 26 onto South Carolina 60 (Lake Murray Boulevard) east into north Columbia. The 5.05-mile state highway concludes in one mile at U.S. 176 near Harbison State Forest. Photo taken 04/15/12.
The first of several upcoming exits signs for Interstate 26 through the Columbia metropolitan area lies one half mile ahead of the Exit 103 off-ramp to Harbison Boulevard. Harbison Boulevard serves a sprawling retail area anchored by Columbiana Centre mall. Photo taken 12/20/13.
Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 share 5.97 miles of pavement. The first set of shields for the overlap follow the on-ramp from S.C. 60. Photo taken 12/20/13.
A partial-cloverleaf interchange facilitates the movements between Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 with Harbison Boulevard. Harbison Boulevard connects the adjacent commercial district with St. Andrews Road to the west and U.S. 176 (Broad River Road) to the north. Photo taken 12/20/13.
Passing under Harbison Boulevard, Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 reenter Lexington County and next meet Piney Grove Road at Exit 104. Photo taken 12/20/13. Second photo taken 12/21/13.
One quarter mile ahead of the diamond interchange (Exit 104) with Piney Grove Road on Interstate 26 east. This upcoming exits sign is the first to advise motorists of the upcoming junction with Interstate 20. Photo taken 12/20/13.
Piney Grove Road winds northeast from Saint Andrews Road and Whitehall in south Irmo to Exit 104 and U.S. 176 (Broad River Road). Photo taken 12/20/13.
Continuing southeast, Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 enter the suburb of St. Andrews over the next 2.5 miles. St. Andrews Road and Bush River Road provide access to the unincorporated community between "Malfunction Junction", the nickname for the crossroads with I-20. Photo taken 12/20/13.
St. Andrews Road constitutes a busy through road northwest from U.S. 176 (Broad River Road) to the Irmo town center at S.C. 60. Photo taken 12/20/13.
A commercialized six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 106) joins Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 with St. Andrews Road in a quarter mile. Photo taken 12/20/13.
Interstate 26 expands to eight lanes in anticipation of "Malfunction Junction" with Interstate 20 (Exits 107A/B) as Exit 106 leaves for St. Andrews Road. A frontage Road lines both I-26 and I-20 from the Exit 106 ramp end to Bush River Road. Photo taken 12/20/13.
As Interstate 26 passes under St. Andrews Road, a pull-through panel directs motorists bound for Charleston into the right-hand two lanes as the left-hand lanes default onto Interstate 126 & U.S. 76 east into Columbia. Exit 107A for Interstate 20 west to Augusta, Georgia departs next. Photo taken 12/20/13.
One half mile north of the full-cloverleaf interchange (Exits 107A/B) with Interstate 20 on Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 east. The weaving traffic pattern between the loop ramps gives the interchange its nickname, and efforts to address the outdated interchange since 1988 have yet to yield improvements. Photo taken 12/20/13.
A reassurance marker for I-26 east omits U.S. 76 as five lanes enter "Malfunction Junction". Photo taken 12/21/13.
Travelers bound for Lexington, Aiken and Augusta, Georgia part ways with Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 east for Interstate 20 west at Exit 107A. I-20 leaves the Palmetto State in 63 miles and reaches Atlanta in 203 miles.
The first in a series of signs for Exit 108B (Interstate 126 & U.S. 76 west) appears as I-26 splits with the Columbia freeway spur in 0.75 miles Photo taken 12/20/13.
Sandwiched between the interchanges for Interstates 20 and 126 is the Bush River Road off-ramp (Exit 108A). Bush River Road constitutes an east-west commercial arterial between Exit 63 of Interstate 20 and U.S. 176 (Broad River Road) by Dutch Square Center mall. Photo taken 12/20/13.
Exit 107B follows onto Interstate 20 east to Interstate 95 at Florence as I-26 crosses back into Richland County. The freeway sees another seven interchanges in the Columbia area before crossing paths with Interstate 77 near Fort Jackson. Photo taken 12/20/13.
These button copy signs for Interstate 26 at Interstate 20 east were carbon copied by 2002. Photo taken 08/05/00.
Signs for Exit 108B spell out Interstate 126 and omit U.S. 76 as the left-hand ramp prepares to depart Interstate 26 east. Sometime after 2004, the Bush River Road off-ramp was renumbered from Exit 108 to Exit 108A and I-126's ramp given the designation of Exit 108B. Photo taken 06/01/07.
Four lanes of Interstate 26 & U.S. 76 prepare to separate into separate two-lane ramps for downtown Columbia (Exit 108B) and Charleston. Changes to the Interstate 126 signs were made in 1994 to address confusion experienced by motorists joining I-26 east from I-20. Alterations to signs include the omission of Interstate 126 to the spelling out of the route in text. Photo taken 04/14/12.
Interstate 26 travels underneath the Bush River Road overpass and prepares to bend westward from its easterly trajectory toward Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). Photo taken 04/14/12.
Interstate 126 & U.S. 76 east split with Interstate 26 east at Exit 108B. U.S. 76 and Interstate 126 overlap through to the Huger Street tri-level interchange. There U.S. 76 combines with U.S. 121-176-321 north and Business Spur I-126 east along Elmwood Avenue. Photo taken 04/14/12.
Interstate 26 east
Interstate 26 swings southwest to reenter Lexington County at the Saluda River. The Saluda and Broad Rivers combine nearby to form the Congaree River between West Columbia and Columbia. Photo taken 01/03/14.
I-26 next approaches U.S. 378 (Sunset Boulevard) at Exit 110. U.S. 378 travels 234 miles between Washington, Georgia and Conway. Photo taken 01/03/14.
A single point urban interchange (Exit 110) joins Interstate 26 with U.S. 378. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Replaced by 2001, this button copy sign directed traffic to the then diamond interchange with U.S. 378 from I-26 east. Photo taken 08/05/00.
Sunset Boulevard carries U.S. 378 east through West Columbia to Meeting Street (U.S. 1) and west to Exit 61 of I-20 and the city of Lexington. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Exit 110 was converted to a SPUI between 2004 and 2005. Photo taken 01/03/14.
U.S. 1 leads west from Downtown Columbia across the Gervais Street Bridge over the Congaree River into West Columbia. The route follows Augusta Road, a commercialized arterial, through to a full-cloverleaf interchange (Exits 111A/B) with Interstate 26. Photo taken 01/03/14.
U.S. 1 proceeds west from Exit 111A to Lexington, where the route meets U.S. 378 again. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Button copy signs directed traffic to U.S. 1 (Augusta Road) from Interstate 26 east until late 2001. Photo taken 08/05/00.
Exit 111B loops onto U.S. 1 (Augusta Road) north to Meeting Street and an overlap with U.S. 378 through to the State Capitol and Two Notch Road in Columbia. U.S. 1 generally travels east-west from Wrens, Georgia to Camden. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Charleston appears for the first time along I-26 eastbound mileage signage at 109 miles. Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE), four miles to the southwest, is the next exit. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Six lanes of Interstate 26 travel through the town of Springdale ahead of the Exit 113 off-ramp to South Carolina 302 (Airport Boulevard). Photo taken 01/03/14.
Entering the diamond interchange (Exit 113) with South Carolina 302 (Airport Boulevard) on Interstate 26 east. S.C. 302 leads east through Cayce to U.S. 21-176-321 (Charleston Highway) and west to Springdale and Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE).
Plans in 2004 were underway on a $94-million project to construct a controlled access route from Interstate 26 to the Airport. Completed in 2004, a 1.5-mile portion of the roadway opened between S.C. 602 (Platt Springs Road) and S.C. 302. Named the John N. Hardee Expressway, the multi-lane route includes a trumpet interchange for the CAE terminal.
The remaining 1.1-mile expressway between South Carolina 302 (Airport Boulevard) and a new interchange with Interstate 26 was expected to see construction by mid-2006 and an opening by 2008.1 This portion remains unconstructed as of 2014. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Interstate 26 enters the city of Cayce south of Exit 113 an crosses Sixmile Creek by this shield assembly. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Back to back interchanges lie 1.5 miles to the south along Interstate 26 with both U.S. 21-176-321 (Charleston Highway) and the northbound beginning of Interstate 77 (Exit 116).
Signs for Interstate 77 (Exit 116) were replaced by 2007. Photo taken 01/18/04. Second photo taken 01/03/14.
A mileage sign at the Southern Railroad underpass highlights the distances to both Gaston and Swansea, destinations of U.S. 321 south. Charleston, and the east end of I-26, is 107 miles away. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Nearing a crossing of the Congaree Creek, Interstate 26 widens to four lanes in anticipation for the left-hand ramp (Exit 116) to Interstate 77 north. Known as the Southeastern Beltway, Interstate 77 encircles Columbia from Cayce east to Fort Jackson and Windsor Lake before leaving Cola for Rock Hill and Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo taken 01/18/04. Second photo taken 01/03/14.
U.S. 21-176-321 combine in Columbia and travel southward from near the University of South Carolina campus through Cayce to a six-ramp partial-cloverleaf interchange (Exit 115) with Interstate 26. Photo taken 01/18/04. Second photo taken 01/03/14.
South from the Exit 115 off-ramp, the trio proceed another 2.8 miles to part ways with U.S. 321 south. U.S. 321 continues from there through the towns of Gaston and Swansea on its 120-mile trek to U.S. 17 at Hardeeville. Photo taken 01/18/04.
Interstate 77 follows and commences its 612 mile journey to Cleveland, Ohio by way of Statesville, NC; Wytheville, VA; Beckley and Charleston, WV; and Canton and Akron, OH. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Drivers bound for Interstate 77 north to Charlotte leave Interstate 26 east at Exit 116. The stretch of I-77 east from Cayce to South Carolina 48 (Bluff Road) was initially touted as Interstate 326 but was instead signed as South Carolina 478. The Southeastern Beltway otherwise opened in stages from August 1986 to June 1995. Photo taken 12/15/01. Second photo taken 01/03/14.
Ramps from U.S. 21-176-321 combine and merge onto Interstate 26 just beyond Exit 116 to I-77 north. The Southeastern Beltway sees two flyovers with the US highways opposite Fish Hatchery Road as well. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Interstate 26 east leaves Cayce and bisects a growing industrial park area through to the Calhoun County line. Photo taken 12/21/13.
Leaving the Columbia metropolitan area, Interstate 26 continues 105 miles to end at Charleston. St. Matthews, the Calhoun County seat, is the next city profiled at 28 miles out via Exit 136 and S.C. 6 east. Photo taken 12/21/13.
U.S. 21 & 176 (Charleston Highway) again intersect Interstate 26 at Exit 119. The paired highways depart with U.S. 321, 1.8 miles to the north before parting with each other seven miles to the south near Sandy Run. Photo taken 12/21/13.
U.S. 176 meets Interstate 26 for the final time at Exit 119, though the US route continues parallel to the freeway corridor through to its terminus with U.S. 52 at Goose Creek. Saint Matthews is a 26-mile drive via U.S. 176. Photo taken 01/03/14.
Exiting I-26 at the folded-cloverleaf interchange, drivers can turn left back to Dixiana to the north or right along U.S. 21 & 176 (Charleston Highway) south. Photo taken 01/03/14.
U.S. 21 & 176 briefly line the east side Interstate 26 before branching away to Road 31 (Old Sandy Run) and their split. Photo taken 12/21/13.
Interstate 26 travelers leave Lexington County again to enter northwestern Calhoun County east of Sand Mountain. Photo taken 12/21/13.



Sources:

  1. Buchanan, Carter. "New Expressway to Columbia, SC airport." Online posting, Yahoo! Groups Southeast Roads and Transport, January 19, 2004.
Photo Credits:
  • 2000-08-05 by AARoads.
  • 2001-12-15 by AARoads.
  • 2004-01-18 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.
  • 2007-06-01 by AARoads.
  • 2012-04-14 by AARoads.
  • 2012-04-15 by AARoads.
  • 2013-12-20 by AARoads.
  • 2013-12-21 by AARoads.
  • 2014-01-03 by AARoads.

Connect with:
Interstate 20
Interstate 77
Interstate 126

Page Updated 09-18-2014.

 
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