South Carolina Road Network

By | October 13, 2022

South Carolina’s Interstate Highway Network.

South Carolina has a fairly extensive road network, especially for the secondary road network with many US Highways and State Routes. A number of these routes have 2×2 lanes and guarantee fast connections via the secondary road network. However, there are no major urban highway networks in South Carolina.

  • Bittranslators: State overview of South Carolina, including geography, economy, population and history as well as introduction to major cities of South Carolina.

Road management

The state highway authority is the South Carolina Department of Transportation, abbreviated SCDOT. SCDOT manages an immense network of roads, totaling approximately 66,000 kilometers of road and 8,400 bridges. The SCDOT operates the fourth largest road network in any state. SCDOT has its origins in the Highway Commission which was established in 1917. After that, the department was known for a long time as the Highway Department, until it was renamed the Department of Highways and Public Transportation in 1977. The current name was introduced in 1993.

The state of South Carolina is one of the best performing states in road management. In terms of cost efficiency, the state has consistently ranked in the top 10 in the Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report since 2003.

  • Deluxesurveillance: Nickname of South Carolina as The Palmetto State. Also covers geography, history, economy, politics and administration of the state.

Interstate Highways

Several Interstate Highways traverse South Carolina. Interstate 20 forms an east-west route from Augusta through Columbia and ends in Florence. Interstate 26 is the state’s main route, connecting Charleston to Columbia and Spartanburg, as well as indirectly to Greenville, which connects I-26 to all major cities in South Carolina. Interstate 77 begins in Columbia and heads north to Charlotte. Interstate 85 traverses the northwest of the state, serving all the major cities, namely Anderson, Greenville and Spartanburg. This is an important truck corridor. The Interstate 95 traverses the dull and densely forested coastal plain, bypassing the larger cities, the highway passes by Florence, but runs further away from Charleston and Columbia.

In addition, there are some auxiliary routes. Interstate 126 is a spur in downtown Columbia, and Interstate 185 is a southern bypass of Greenville, which is part toll road. Interstate 385 connects the city of Greenville with I-26 toward Columbia. Interstate 520 is part of the Augusta ring road. Interstate 526 forms an incomplete bypass of Charleston and Interstate 585 is a spur in Spartanburg.

US Highways

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge (US 17) in Charleston.

A large number of US Highways pass through South Carolina. Some of these are 2×2 divided highways. US 501 is the main access road to the coastal city of Myrtle Beach and is a 2×2 divided highway from Dillon to Myrtle Beach. US 76 is also part of the connection from Florence to Myrtle Beach and is also a 2×2 divided highway.

A hub of several 2×2 divided highways is the town of Sumter, which is located some distance from I-20 and I-95, and is therefore served by several 2×2 lane US Highways, such as US 15, US 76 and US 521. US 52 forms a 2×2 lane north-south route between Charleston and Florence.

US 17 runs along the coast, which is largely a 2×2 divided highway and runs over the famous Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston. Inland South Carolina has fewer 2×2 divided highways, such as US 301 from Georgia to Orangeburg, part of US 25 between Greenwood and Greenville, and beyond into North Carolina, and a network of 2×2 highways around Greenville, Anderson and Spartanburg.

State Highways

South Carolina has a dense network of state highways. This is subdivided into primary roads and secondary roads. The primary roads are numbered from 1 to 999. The secondary roads have been administratively numbered since about 1950. The numbering is coded, with the code S for secondary roads, the number of the county and then the number of the road itself. A number then looks like S-XX-XX. Incidentally, these road numbers are also indicated.

A small number of state highways have been developed as freeways;

  • SC 22: Conway – North Myrtle Beach
  • SC 31: Myrtle Beach Bypass (Carolina Bays Parkway)
  • SC 277: Northeastern Freeway in Columbia

Toll roads

There is one toll road in South Carolina, the Southern Connector (I-185) at Greenville. The state’s electronic toll system is the Palmetto Pass. Until July 1, 2021, the Cross Island Parkway on Hilton Head Island was also a toll road.

History

I-85 at Greenville.

Most of the highways were built under the Interstate Highway program from 1956. The Interstate 585 in Spartanburg opened in 1957, probably South Carolina’s first highway. In the early 1960s, priority was given to I-26 and I-85. I-85 was completed in 1964, I-26 a few years later, connecting the largest cities. In the late 1960s, I-20 was probably also completed, as was I-385. The construction of the I-95 took a little longer, partly because this highway is of little importance to the state itself. It was not until 1980 that it was open to traffic. I-77 was built in the 1970s, which was not originally supposed to run through South Carolina, but was added to the network in 1969. This highway was not completed until 1995 when the Columbia bypass was completed. More recent highways include I-526 around Charleston, which opened in the early to mid-1990s, and I-185 which opened in 2001 around Greenville. In 2009, a major stretch of I-520 opened around North Augusta on the border with Georgia for traffic.

South Carolina Road Network