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GA-SC 59 and I-85 at Lake Hartwell

Started by Tom958, February 20, 2022, 08:46:36 PM

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Was the bridge connecting GA 59 and SC 59 over the Savannah River-Lake Hartwell near Fair Play, SC closed before the I-85 crossing half a mile north was opened? The consensus expressed in an online discussion I participated in was, yes, it was. Last Friday I acquired a 1964 Rand McNally which shows it thusly on the Georgia map, with the interchange just south of there shown and 85 a broken line with no interchanges across the state line all the way to the US 29 junction. However, on the North and South Carolina map, I-85 is solid across the lake with an interchange at SC 59, then a broken line with no interchanges northward.

The big news for me from my 1964 atlas was that a 19-mile isolated portion of I-85 between GA 51 and the state line was open then, before the rest of the section north of what's now I-985. It would've been rather useless with no way to get across the lake, but stranger things have happened. Perhaps there was a coordination problem between the Corps of Engineers and the highway agencies. Perhaps an unusual bout of rain delayed the completion of the bridge while accelerating the filling of the lake. Or maybe the I-85 bridge was completed and opened in time and there wasn't really a problem at all.

Anybody know?  :hmmm:


I am on the road and can't access some of where I'd be researching to answer this question.

But I can tell you that according to uglybridges the I85 bridge over lake hartwell is dated 1961 as are most of the bridges on/over I85 in Oconee County SC.

Also the 1963 state official (available at GDOT website) strongly suggests GA 59 was routed over to the I85 bridge via spur and conn routes.

I can't download the county maps from GDOT onto my iPhone to see.

US 89

1961 Hart County, GA map from the GDOT website shows what looks to be a completed I-85. GA 59 enters Hart County as it does today but then continues up what's now GA 77 to the I-85 interchange (back then GA 77 apparently followed what's now 77 Conn to Lavonia instead of continuing north). There is also a GA 59 Spur extending east along the old 59 alignment, ending at the intersection with Knox Bridge Rd immediately west of Lake Hartwell, and no bridge other than the one on 85.

For some reason the map is extremely horizontally compressed, but here is a screenshot:


Now that I am home...

The lower right corner of that 1961 Hart County Map (which is actually May 1964) has a change log that showed GA 59 moved to meet I-85 below the bridge 5/24/62 and moved back to its original routing with a dead end at the lake on 4/14/64.  GA 59's connection to I-85 was renumbered as part of GA 366 (later became GA 77 Spur).

It also notes that GA 403 was not designated until 10/10/62, so technically GA 59 crossed the bridge for a few months in 1962.


Excellent. Thanks, both of you!  :clap:

The cartography on Georgia's maps was really bad and there are mistakes that I know of, so I tend not to trust them (though Rand McNally is even worse in general!). I really should've looked at, though. 

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