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socaguy

Columbia/Augusta

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Augusta and Columbia are only about 65 miles apart from each other and their metro areas touch (Lexington co. and Aiken co.) Is it reasonable to assume that one day, maybe in the next 30-50 years these two metro areas will connect? I know Columbias growth is more towards the NW, but Lexington co. is growing, and while much of Aiken countys' growth is occuring closer to Augusta and SE of Aiken, the completion in the next decade of the BJ expressway will fuel growth around I-20 north of the city. Estimates put Augustas metro area above 650,000 by 2025, while Columbia could have around 800,000-900,000 or more by then. Could we see these two cities connecting in the future? What do you think?

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Hmmm, interesting. I would imagine that by the time this happens, there will be much connectivity between Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and even Charlotte. Why not let Augusta join the party? LOL

But I think I recently read that most of Augusta's metropolitan growth in occurring in Columbia County, even moreso than in Aiken County. Perhaps the metros will at least be touching in 30-50 years, but there will probably still be a significant amount of rural areas in between them.

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It will happen eventually, but it's still a long way away (barring a serious population explosion in both cities)... Keep in mind that the last exit that could be considered urban/suburban in the Augusta metro is exit 22 (US-1), and the first real non-rural one in the Columbia metro is exit 59 (also US-1). That's 37 miles with a lot of rural stuff in between (with some industrial, like Michelin in Lexington Co.). The small towns in between are currently seeing NO growth (Batesburg-Leesville, Wagener, Salley, Gilbert).

The way I see it happening, is that more industrial facilities will eventually locate in rural Lexington Co., approaching Aiken Co.. As Aiken's northside develops (US-1 is seeing several large new subdivisions near the airport), a lot of people will find the new Aiken sprawl more convienent to their Lexington Co. jobs.

For now, the next BIG area is NW Aiken, near USCA and Graniteville. There's an (approximately) 5,000 home subdivison planned on the bypass near USCA, sandwiched between Aiken and Graniteville around Vaucluse Rd. Add to that several thousand new homes proposed in Graniteville near exit 11. Actually, with the big projects in Graniteville and N. Augusta, these cities could conceivably challenge Aiken in population within 20 years.

So to answer the original question, currently the two metros aren't fusing, since Aiken Co's growth is inward towards Augusta and Aiken. But there's still been a trickle of growth on Aiken's northside that, with the right catalyst (such as convienent retail or God forbid, a Walmart), could become a monsoon of development.

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Addendum:

Just as a personal note, there are a LOT of families in my area that have a member commuting to Augusta and one to Columbia.

My mom works in Augusta, my dad in Aiken, and my brother in Lexington. Several family members commute to USC and work in Aiken Co. So for those of us on the rural northside, Columbia and Augusta are almost equally convienent. But currently, my family is the minority.

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Interesting. When I lived in Augusta I knew no one living there who worked in Columbia, but here in the Upstate SC I know lots of people who commute from Anderson to Spartanburg and Greenville to South Anderson and vice-versa. Those trips are 50-60 miles at least. I agree it will be a long time before this happens, especially since Augusta is growing more toward to west. Perhaps if Atlanta would extend a commuter rail line eastwards, through Augusta to Columbia, it would happen faster.

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Perhaps if Atlanta would extend a commuter rail line eastwards, through Augusta to Columbia, it would happen faster.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Are you insane? Charlotte has already claimed South Carolina as it's sprawl territory. There's no way they'd allow commuter rail over the Savannah, lol... As far as Columbia and Augusta merging? If it happens it's going to take some time whenever I make that long drive down 20, it seems as if you've fallen into a Green Hole of nothingness.

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^True, but it is only 60 something miles from Cola to Augusta. Less when considering suburbs. Augusta and Columbia will meet far before Columbia meets Greenville or Charleston, simply because they are too far awat (Gvl is like 90 miles). Ive always wondered why Augustas growth never followed the Interstate like most cities do. I guess it would have helped to fill in that Green hole a little more if it did.

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^True, but it is only 60 something miles from Cola to Augusta.  Less when considering suburbs.  Augusta and Columbia will meet far before Columbia meets Greenville or Charleston, simply because they are too far awat (Gvl is like 90 miles).  Ive always wondered why Augustas growth never followed the Interstate like most cities do.  I guess it would have helped to fill in that Green hole a little more if it did.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very true.

I can count on seeing countless Columbia and Richmond county tags everyday here in Columbia (more so than NC tags), so if Augustian's are not commuting to Columbia for work, they definitely are traveling to Columbia in great numbers for something.

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I don't know - I would consider the GReenville - Columbia corridor to develop more prominantely than that between Augusta.

Not that I would really want any of that to occur, but between Aiken & Batesville or Lexingtong there is really nothing that would spur growth. Between Greenville & Columbia you do have a series of exurban / suburban towns that could spur growth - Laurens / Clinton & Newberry.

Hope it doesn't happen though, that is a lot of sprawl....

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I don't know...It's so rural in between cities in SC...It's like miles and miles of country...I guess it could happen since Augusta is less than an hour away..

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Yeah i woulnt want any of these cities to actually connect. Unless of couse they became super-dense to begin with and have no other way to grow...like the NE cities. But that is still 200 years away. Greenville and Columbia do seem to be growing towards each other, and there are some towns of size in between them, but still 90 miles is a LONG way.

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I think that is the right attitude to have - 200 years away. In that sense, it might not be that impossible to think of. But will the USA still have a high growth rate? It is already declining (except for immigrants), as Japan & western Europe has declined to 0% to negative.

Sorry for being a stinker ;)

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Are you insane? Charlotte has already claimed South Carolina as it's sprawl territory.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:rofl:

The extent of Charlotte's sprawl into SC is in York and Lancaster counties, and nothing beyond that. Furthermore, South Carolina isn't "up for grabs." :D

But somehow, I could envision Charlotte's and Columbia's MSAs beginning to merge before Columbia's and Augusta's.

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Augusta and Columbia are only about 65 miles apart from each other and their metro areas touch (Lexington co. and Aiken co.)  Is it reasonable to assume that one day, maybe in the next 30-50 years these two metro areas will connect?  I know Columbias growth is more towards the NW, but Lexington co. is growing, and while much of Aiken countys' growth is occuring closer to Augusta and SE of Aiken,  the completion in the next decade of the BJ expressway will fuel growth around I-20 north of the city.  Estimates put Augustas metro area above 650,000 by 2025, while Columbia could have around 800,000-900,000 or more by then.  Could we see these two cities connecting in the future?  What do you think?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I am going to have to disagree with this idea. Western Lexington and Eastern Aiken counties are very large expanses of nothing. The MSA's touching is purely the result of having two large counties next to eachother, and in no way reflects the growth of the two cities.

Besides that, neither city is growing towards eachother at an accelerated rate. Lexington County is expecting to see more growth to the west as the land nearer to the lake gets eaten up. Aiken appears to be growing more towards Augusta and SRS than the interstate or Cola for that matter.

The odds of these two cities linking up in our lifetime are miniscule IMO.

I agree that we are more likely to see a GSP and Cola merger one day than a Augusta and Cola one.

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I'm not familiar with the I-20 corridor from Augusta to Columbia, but it does seem that if Lexington Co. continues booming and grows to attract a significant number of jobs in it's western half (i.e., not just in Lexington town, West Columbia/Cayce, and Irmo, but also Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville), then you could approach a more significant exchange of commuters between the two metros. However, I don't see them "merging" in any real sense, any more than, say, Chicago/Milwaukee or New York/Philly do now.

Living in Northeast Richland County, I do wonder if/how/when the "Green Hole" between Blythewood and Rock Hill along I-77 will fill in (that's about a 45-minute stretch of very rural land, but reasonably accessible to the Columbia and Charlotte metros, assuming gas prices don't get out of hand). I have a co-worker who commutes from Lancasater to NE Columbia. Charlotte's size and "gravity" means it exerts more influence regionally than either Columbia, Augusta, or Greenville. As Charlotte grows, it will be interesting to see if it exerts Atlanta-like pull in bringing in once-rural areas into the exurban fringe (and by that point we will probably see a huge I-20/I-77/I-85/I-40 Piedmont megalopolis from Raleigh to Birmingham and Knoxville to Columbia).

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As Charlotte grows, it will be interesting to see if it exerts Atlanta-like pull in bringing in once-rural areas into the exurban fringe (and by that point we will probably see a huge I-20/I-77/I-85/I-40 Piedmont megalopolis from Raleigh to Birmingham and Knoxville to Columbia).

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Already has - take a look at the MSA / CSA counties for Charlotte.

But Fairfield Co. will go to Columbia as Chester Co. goes to Charlotte, not because of growth but because of commuting patterns.

Speaking of regional growth patterns between cities, I wonder about some other more minor expanses: Greenwood & Greenville, Orangeburg & Columbia (St Matthews Co by a large percent commutes to Columbia).

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For what it's worth, I expect Charlotte's and Columbia's MSAs to be adjacent by the time of the next census, by Charlotte possibly pulling in Lancaster County and Columbia pulling in Kershaw County (the two counties share a boundary).

I can already tell you, I-26 between Orangeburg and Columbia DEFINITELY needs to be widened before it already gets out of hand. The traffic during rush hour tends to be somewhat heavy. I think we can expect more growth between those areas. But whether Orangeburg County gets sucked into Orangeburg's MSA remains to be seen. I don't foresee it at least within the next 10 years. But shortly thereafter, it's very well possible.

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According to the newer definitions Kershaw is already a part of the Columbia MSA. The CSA's already touch.

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Wow. Well, all the more reason to believe that the MSAs will be touching by the time of the next census.

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I don't think it will. The next census is only 5 years off. But certainly by the 2020 Census they will be.

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Columbia and Augusta touching is a very long way off. Yes, Lexington County is growing rapidly, but the growth is in the Northern half of the county, spurred on by Lake Murray and in the Eastern part of the county because of the proximity to downtown Columbia. Southern and Southwestern Lexington County has very little to offer except for cheap land. The Southern half of Lexington is ugly terrain for the most part (think scrub pines, scrub oaks and sandy soil) and the same goes for Northeastern Aiken County.

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The Southern half of Lexington is ugly terrain for the most part (think scrub pines, scrub oaks and sandy soil) and the same goes for Northeastern Aiken County.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

:cry: I grew up in NE Aiken Co., and there's really some nice countryside out there. Some areas that come to mind are the South Edisto and North Edisto River basins. There's scores of ponds and a lot of wetlands as well. I almost always see cyclists on scenic rides when I'm in the area. While I agree that the area won't be developed soon, it's not because the land is "ugly" or undesirable. The views from I-20 aren't spectacular, but they don't really reflect the geography of the area that well.

Just defending my home ;) Though I may trash my rural background at times, I secretly love it, and the whole area.

Is NE Aiken vast, rural, and (a little bit) backwards: Yes

Is it ugly: No way

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The current "next big thing" in Northeast Aiken Co (from my personal observation) is that the equestrian people from Aiken have started to colonize the area. Property on the traditionally desirable south side of Aiken has become to pricey for large horse farms, so they're moving out to the northside. Though real estate is still a bargain, relative to many areas, the prices of land have skyrocketed, and we're seeing quite a few new, very large homes being built on large parcels of land. In fact, 2 of my uncles just sold their very modest homes to equestrian people for record prices and moved further out to build larger horse farms.

A lot of the locals think the area is "booming" with growth, since this is the first real influx of new people in a long time, but in reality, the growth is still extremely low density and rural in character. So while this part of the area is definately becoming "more developed," it certainly is nowhere near the type of sprawl development that would imply that Cola and Aug are growing together.

If anyone has any sort of insight/hearsay on the current market in the neighboring portions of Lexington Co., I'd be glad to hear it.

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The I-85 corridor is fueling so much growth between Atlanta and Durham so its just a matter of time before it will get so crowded along the 85 corridor that development will encroach along other interstates to other metro areas. Unlike the northeast where bodies of water and mountain terrain limits so much sprawl, the flat/hilly land runs for miles and miles in many southern cities. For SC, this would mean I-26 and I-77 when the GSA area and Charlotte one day become so overdeveloped. With that said, the likelyhood of a Augusta-Columbia suburban/exurban overlap will not happen for at least 50-75 years for one main reason: it is not near the sunbelt interstate.

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:cry: I grew up in NE Aiken Co., and there's really some nice countryside out there.  Some areas that come to mind are the South Edisto and North Edisto River basins.  There's scores of ponds and a lot of wetlands as well.  I almost always see cyclists on scenic rides when I'm in the area.  While I agree that the area won't be developed soon, it's not because the land is "ugly" or undesirable.  The views from I-20 aren't spectacular, but they don't really reflect the geography of the area that well.

Just defending my home  ;) Though I may trash my rural background at times, I secretly love it, and the whole area.

Is NE Aiken vast, rural, and (a little bit) backwards: Yes

Is it ugly: No way

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sorry Topher, no offense meant toward NE Aiken County. I was trying to point out some of the benefits Northern Lexington had over Southern Lexington County. Most of what I have seen of NE Aiken Cty is from I-20.

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