Welcome to the Roads of South Carolina! This page provides a route log, researched by Paul Martin, for all Interstate, U.S., and State Highways in South Carolina. Follow the links below to access photographic guides of some of the Palmetto State's roads.
The state boasts 4,075,500 residents and Columbia represents the largest city at a population of 116,500. Other cities of interest within the Palmetto State include Greenville (56,002), Charleston (96,650), North Charleston (79,641), Spartanburg (39,673), and Rock Hill (49,765). Greenville County tops out with 379,616 residents as the most populous while McCormick County represents the other end of the spectrum at 9,958.
Five major interstates serve the state with one more planned. Interstate 20 joins the capital city with Florence and Interstate 95 to the east and Augusta and Atlanta, Georiga to the west. Interstate 26 joins Charleston and the LowCountry with Columbia and the Greenville/Spartanburg area. Interstate 77 provides a link from Columbia northward to Rock Hill and Charlotte, North Carolina. Interstate 85 straddles the Appalachian Mountain piedmont as a busy freeway linking Atlanta with Charlotte. Interstate 95 travels north-south along the coastal plain, primarily providing through traffic needs between Florida and the Northeast U.S.
New Interstate 73 remains a planned route from southern North Carolina eastward into the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area. None of this route is yet under construction as of late 2007, and some portions may end up being tolled to fund its building. Interstate 74 was planned to also travel to Myrtle Beach, but it appears increasingly likely that the route may now end in Wilmington, North Carolina. An extension of Interstate 20 is also contemplated from Florence eastward to Wilmington, but no formal plans are yet in motion.
Presently a handful of loop and spur routes serve the cities of South Carolina from the primary Interstate system. These include Interstate 185, a spur/toll loop of Greenville, Interstate 385, a lengthy spur joining Greenville with Interstate 26, and Interstate 585, a spur joining Business Loop Interstate 85 with Spartanburg. Other three-digit routes include the Interstate 126 spur into Columbia and the Interstate 526 loop of Charleston. South Carolina's newest Interstate consists of the Interstate 520 extension from Augusta, Georgia. By 2009, Interstate 520 will rejoin Interstate 20 east of North Augusta to provide a full loop around the Augusta metro area. One final three-digit route planned is that of Interstate 174, a spur of Interstate 74 to the Myrtle Beach area from North Carolina.
Much of the original network of U.S. routes within the Palmetto state is still intact. Exceptions occur with the truncation of U.S. 276 due to Interstate 385 and the removal of Alternate U.S. 29 near the Spartanburg vicinity due to Interstate 85. U.S. 17 shares pavement with Interstate 95 south from Yemassee, and U.S. 176 overlaps with Interstate 126 into Columbia. These are additional exceptions to the overall rule where federal highways retain their routing, even when in the shadows of nearby Interstate highways.
U.S. 17A northbound at the junction of U.S. 15 and South Carolina 64 Business in Walterboro. U.S. 15 begins its six-state run at this intersection. Photo taken by Paul Martin (2001).
One of the newest state routes, South Carolina 22, has been constructed in the Myrtle Beach vicinity as part of the future Interstate 73 corridor. Nearby South Carolina 31 is also new, following what may become Interstate 174 to the west of the Grand Strand. South Carolina state highways are not organized in a north-south or east-west scheme. Route clustering is also not used in the state. Three-digit state highways however act as loops and spurs to their implied parent routes. South Carolina 171 for instance refers to U.S. 17 in its numbering, or can be read as South Carolina 17-1. South Carolina 165 technically reads South Carolina 16-5, with the 5 representing the branch from the implied parent routing. This configuration is not unique to South Carolina, as Washington state also follows the practice.
South Carolina featured the run of the mill square design for its state highway shields until fall 2007. Debuting at that time was a new blue shield design including the palmetto tree and crescent moon design featured on the South Carolina state flag. Signs will be grandfathered in, first replacing damaged or missing signs, throughout the state. This particular assembly includes a South Carolina 6 trailblazer at the U.S. 17A south & U.S. 52 eastbound split at Moncks Corner.
The latest state slogan "Smiling Faces. Beautiful Places." can be found on the standard issue of license plates for South Carolina. An alternate standard tag design available features the state flag and slogan "In God We Trust". Vanity tags issued in the state feature an alternate background that includes a mountain and seagrass motif, indicative of the states diverse geography.
Page Updated December 15, 2007.