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Why so many interstate spurs?

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I've lived in SC for about four years now, and there is one thing that both puzzles and irritates me about the interstate system. Why is it that so many of the state's major cities (namely Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Florence) have 3-digit spurs? I'm used to seeing or being in cities that have some kind of limited-access highway as a thru-route, but such is not the case here. Why is this the case? Especially in Columbia and Greenville, both of which have two spurs (I-126 and SC-277 in Cola, and I-385 and I-185 in Greenville). Why was there no effort made to build a highway through the hearts of these cities as opposed to spurs?

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I've often wondered about this myself, but I think that, in a way, it works to the advantage of the cities.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

How do you think that it's a benefit?

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Interstates were originally designed to go through the countryside, not cities. SC is one of the few states that upheld that ideal. As a result, all of our interstates with the exception of I-26 in Charleston, do not run through the middle of our cities. To get around that, they build spurs to connect the larger cities to the interstates.

Greenville's 385 was actually a compromise since Spartanburg got I-26.

These days the cities have grown towards and around the interstates, so that may seems less evident. But just check it out on a map and compare to where the core of the city is and where the interstates run 8)

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How do you think that it's a benefit?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think the lack of freeways downtown preserves the "unity" of downtown, so to speak. Many times freeways, especially loops, can serve as dividing lines between a city's CBD and outer residential areas. So without these, I think the city's cohesiveness is preserved.

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I think the lack of freeways downtown preserves the "unity" of downtown, so to speak. Many times freeways, especially loops, can serve as dividing lines between a city's CBD and outer residential areas. So without these, I think the city's cohesiveness is preserved.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree with Krazeeboi. With the intown gentrification and revitalization going on now in our cities, I think it would be politically impossible (not to mention highly undesirable) to split up neighborhoods and destroy areas for an interstate.

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Those types of interstates were put in places like Charlotte when the center city was in a state of decay, so it was easier to tear things down. I agree that it has benefited SC's cities. The fact that the city is not interrupted by what is essentially a concrete river is a great thing. It removes that "official boundary" between a neighborhood and downtown.

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Those types of interstates were put in places like Charlotte when the center city was in a state of decay, so it was easier to tear things down. I agree that it has benefited SC's cities. The fact that the city is not interrupted by what is essentially a concrete river is a great thing. It removes that "official boundary" between a neighborhood and downtown.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

All of you have made good points. And I'd never propose building a freeway through Columbia or any other SC city at this point. I guess I'm just used to a different kind of setup--most of the cities I've lived in or close to (Norfolk, Durham, Winston-Salem) have had a freeway that ran through the city center as opposed to a spur. And with the close proximity between the terminii of I-126 and 277, I wouldn't have thought it much of a far-fetched idea.

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All of you have made good points.  And I'd never propose building a freeway through Columbia or any other SC city at this point.  I guess I'm just used to a different kind of setup--most of the cities I've lived in or close to (Norfolk, Durham, Winston-Salem) have had a freeway that ran through the city center as opposed to a spur.  And with the close proximity between the terminii of I-126 and 277, I wouldn't have thought it much of a far-fetched idea.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Interestingly enough, Columbia has a very serious plan called the Doxiadis plan I think that called for a 277 stlye inner loop in Columbia, with several arms going out. 126 and 277 are the only vestiges of that we ever saw come to be. I, for one, am thankful.

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Columbia is the only city that I know of to have its three interstates form a beltway around the city; it's a pretty unique feature.

bcolmap.jpg

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Columbia is the only city that I know of to have its three interstates form a beltway around the city; it's a pretty unique feature.

Webster's definition of a beltway is: a highway skirting an urban area. To me, Webster's definition is vague. I don't mean to be the dummy here, but cold you or someone explain the word beltway. In particular, could you explain how Columbia's interstates form a beltway around the city.

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A beltway is usually a major road that loops around a city. Columbia does not have a true beltway. Interstates 20 (from 26 to 77), 26 (from 20 to 77), and 77 (from 26 to 20) almost act as a beltway.

Does the state still have the option to connect Interstate 126 with SC 277 should it ever be needed?

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Greenville had a "downtown loop" in the GRATS plan years ago that I think was intended to connect 385 and 185. There were several other big projects in the master plan, but much of it was scrapped back in the '70's, if memory serves. I think that really the only remnant of that plan is the "Western Corridor." Probably someone here has more precise info on this.

I also am grateful that the downtown loop was never built. There would likely be no West end or Cleveland Park west if they had built it. Greenville is still small enough that it really doesn't matter that there's little freeway access into the center of the city. And there are a number of major thoroughfares: 123, Buncombe/Poinsett Hwy, W. Washington, E. Washinton, Church, Wade Hampton, Augusta, not to mention Cleveland St. and N. Main. I think downtown Greenville is really well-constructed and with good access.

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I'm in agreement with limiting freeways in the rural environment - certainly outside of the downtown area. SC has done a good job of that come to think of it, & the freeway spurs serve there purpose very well - all the major SC downtowns can easily be accessed by a freeway but don't have to deal with the deterioation that follows them.

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A beltway is usually a major road that loops around a city.  Columbia does not have a true beltway.  Interstates 20 (from 26 to 77), 26 (from 20 to 77), and 77 (from 26 to 20) almost act as a beltway.

Does the state still have the option to connect Interstate 126 with SC 277 should it ever be needed?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The option is always there, but vocal protests from residents of 3 in-town Columbia neighborhoods prevented that from happening, which is fine with me.

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I think the lack of freeways downtown preserves the "unity" of downtown, so to speak. Many times freeways, especially loops, can serve as dividing lines between a city's CBD and outer residential areas. So without these, I think the city's cohesiveness is preserved.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Kraz hit the nail on the head. Freeways built through and dividing cities does not help the city. This is one of the few things that South Carolina got right.

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A beltway is usually a major road that loops around a city.  Columbia does not have a true beltway.  Interstates 20 (from 26 to 77), 26 (from 20 to 77), and 77 (from 26 to 20) almost act as a beltway.

Does the state still have the option to connect Interstate 126 with SC 277 should it ever be needed?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I disagree. A beltway, in this case, is any route you can take to circumnavigate the city via an interstate.

What you are referring to is an 'official' 3 digit bypass loop like 285 in Atlanta or 485 in Charlotte. Columbia does not have one of those- 'officially,' and I hope it never gets one.

I was under the impression that the city does not have that option.

That is interesting about Greenville's plan. I didn't realize it had one too.

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I love all 3 interstates in Columbia. It makes it so much easier to get around. I mean, Columbia is basically a circle. Every other major city I've been too has a interstate running through it. But I guess its a good thing. The only disadvantage is people who travel through Columbia who are out of towners don't get to see the skyline because you either have to take 277 or 126 and they aren't going to do that just passing through Columbia. Only place you can really see it is from I-77.

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I know one thing my uncle said is that everytime he has to go through Columbia, he always misses it. The only place the skyline is really visible is on I-77 north near the interchange with I-26. It's a pretty good view, too.

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I know one thing my uncle said is that everytime he has to go through Columbia, he always misses it. The only place the skyline is really visible is on I-77 north near the interchange with I-26. It's a pretty good view, too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You can see it briefly on I-26 east at that intersection too. I-77 has the best view for sure though.

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Greenville had a "downtown loop" in the GRATS plan years ago that I think was intended to connect 385 and 185. There were several other big projects in the master plan, but much of it was scrapped back in the '70's, if memory serves. I think that really the only remnant of that plan is the "Western Corridor." Probably someone here has more precise info on this.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Before Hollis Highway (Western Corridor), I knew original plans called for a "Reedy River Expressway" and "Eastern Connector". The Eastern Connector was a planned expressway connector from 385 @ Haywood Road to the Wade Hampton/North Pleasantburg interchange.

As for the Reedy River Expressway, I'm unsure which route it would have taken. I imagine it would parellel the western bank of the Reedy River alongside the Greenville & Northern railroad. Possible interchanges would be at SC 183 (Cedar Lane Road), SC 253 (West Blue Ridge Drive), Sulphur Springs Road, Watkins Bridge Road, and terminate at US 25. Unfortunately, that route would mostly be in a flood plain, and would not have been wise to use. Hollis Highway and White Horse Road's widening are making up for it.

Were there any other projects back then? I think they are worth noting.

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I disagree. A beltway, in this case, is any route you can take to circumnavigate the city via an interstate.

What you are referring to is an 'official' 3 digit bypass loop like 285 in Atlanta or 485 in Charlotte. Columbia does not have one of those- 'officially,' and I hope it never gets one.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But don't you think if Columbia did have a beltway, it would make it easier for out-of-towner's to navigate around the city. If you are not familiar with Columbia, there really isn't a way to circumnavigate the city.

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But don't you think if Columbia did have a beltway, it would make it easier for out-of-towner's to navigate around the city. If you are not familiar with Columbia, there really isn't a way to circumnavigate the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, thats why they make maps. I don't think it would help anything at all except encourage people to drive the long way around, and maybe help the sprawl increase. A defacto beltway is good enough for me :)

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Well, thats why they make maps. I don't think it would help anything at all except encourage people to drive the long way around, and maybe help the sprawl increase. A defacto beltway is good enough for me :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

absolutely! if you can't read a map and figure out where you need to go, you have no business driving!

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