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Tennesseestorm

Interstate 26 (from Kingsport, TN (Tri-Cities) to Charleston, SC)

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Well, it has been completed for awhile now and is a very busy little freeway, at least in our region in northeast Tennessee in the Tri-Cities metro area, especially where it interchanges with I-81 in northeast Tennessee. The interstate has been from Charleston, SC to Asheville, NC for a while now, as well as the I-26 corridor from Kingsport, TN (near the Tennessee-Virginia state line) to the Tennessee-North Carolina state lines) but only recently was the North Carolina part complete between Asheville, NC and the Tennessee-North Carolina state line near Sams Gap.

I am wondering from you South Carolina residents - just how "busy" is I-26 in your area?

Here is a neat little site I found that gives good information about interstates across the nation-

this link in particular is about I-26 in northeast Tennessee:

http://www.southeastroads.com/i-026a_tn.html

http://www.southeastroads.com/i-026_tn.html

Here is the main link to this neat (and informative site):

http://www.aaroads.com/

http://www.southeastroads.com/

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Well, most of the time I'm on I-26 is when I'm going back home to Orangeburg County. Between there and Columbia, traffic tends to be mild, at least the times I'm usually on it. However, I've seen traffic get pretty thick on I-26 east south of Columbia during evening rush hour. Also, I-26 through Columbia is quite busy, especially around the Harbison exit; I'd probably say that it is the busiest interstate in the city. The times I've been on I-26 through Charleston have ALWAYS been busy. Thank goodness I've never had to ride to/from the city during rush hour.

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Well, most of the time I'm on I-26 is when I'm going back home to Orangeburg County. Between there and Columbia, traffic tends to be mild, at least the times I'm usually on it. However, I've seen traffic get pretty thick on I-26 east south of Columbia during evening rush hour. Also, I-26 through Columbia is quite busy, especially around the Harbison exit; I'd probably say that it is the busiest interstate in the city. The times I've been on I-26 through Charleston have ALWAYS been busy. Thank goodness I've never had to ride to/from the city during rush hour.

Rush hour in charleston is a parking lot on I-26 especially between 526 and ashley phosphate.....

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The summer months are horrible. Otherwise, between Summerville and I-526 is always busy but still moving most of the time.

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Thanks for the replies! Seems like a busy freeway, especially in the big city areas. Its bad here too, especially between the Kingsport and Johnson City, TN area, but just south of there it slacks off considerably until you approach the next big city - Asheville, NC.

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I-26 is also significant in that it runs through the state's three largest metro areas.

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I-26 is also significant in that it runs through the state's three largest metro areas.

I-26 isn't too bad in the Spartanburg area, primarily because it runs left parallel to the city.

I-26 in Columbia, on the other hand, is busy everytime I go home, even after rush hour is over.

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Besides typical urban congestion, I've noticed the heaviest traffic areas are between Columbia & the interstate sput to Greenville.

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I drive from Columbia to Johnson City alot since my parents live in JC. I've noticed that I-26 @ I-20 is one of the busiest areas (a parking lot everyday during rush hour). It start letting up around the Chapin/Newberry area. I've never had problems driving through Spartanburg. I-26 between Hendersonville and Asheville can sometimes be a mess. There have been several times where traffic stops in that area for no apparent reason. Most of that traffic gets onto I-40 in Asheville though. Traffic is extremely lite between Asheville and Erwin, TN....which is great because the view is amazing. That part of I-26 is one of the most scenic highways I've driven on. Traffic magically picks up again as you approach Johnson City. All in all, it's not a bad drive, only 3.5 hours.

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26 from to Columbia to Spartanburg is a crappy ride. The traffic is consistently bad. Traffic from Clinton (the 385 split) to Spartanburg is not as bad, but it can still be annoying at times. Spartanburg is starting to fill in on the westside more, and I think that as that part of town starts looking more like 385 in Greenville, you will see even more irritating traffic towards Spartanburg.

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Interestingly, where I-26 intersects with I-95 (the main north-south corridor on the entire east coast), there is nothing, not even a gas station. Nothing but trees. I've read that there is (or was) no electric service provider in this rural area. 6th Dist. Congressman Clyburn is pushing to develop this area, though.

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The I-26/I-95 junction is in eastern Orangeburg County, and I, too, have been perplexed as to why this area hasn't taken off. God knows it would do WONDERS for that part of the county. I believe the inland port coming to Orangeburg County will be located near the junction. Can we at least get a little strip going with some gas stations, fast food restaurants, some signs of civilization?

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The I-26/I-95 junction is in eastern Orangeburg County, and I, too, have been perplexed as to why this area hasn't taken off. God knows it would do WONDERS for that part of the county. I believe the inland port coming to Orangeburg County will be located near the junction. Can we at least get a little strip going with some gas stations, fast food restaurants, some signs of civilization?

Every time I use that interchange, I think about how dead it is. That's the only interstate interchange I know of in the South where there is absolutely nothing around it.

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Exactly. I agree. I live in Bristol and get to Johnson City from time to time- as it is only about 22 miles from here. We often pass through there when we go to Temple Hill, just north of the TN-NC border. Traffic through there (between Sams Gap and Erwin) is light and the mountains through there are beautiful. Like you said though, as you appoach Johnson City, TN - it really increases, especially where the Elizabethton traffic starts merging in off of University Parkway, then more again when you get traffic coming in from North Roan Street and Bristol. Its busy too between Kingsport and Johnson City. That area has a 70 MPH speedlimit, which seems extreme on a couple of those areas. I like the view on I-26 as you head into Kingsport from Johnson City on the steep downgrade. You can really see the 400ft. elevation difference between JC and KPT on that stretch of interstate.

I drive from Columbia to Johnson City alot since my parents live in JC. Traffic is extremely lite between Asheville and Erwin, TN....which is great because the view is amazing. That part of I-26 is one of the most scenic highways I've driven on. Traffic magically picks up again as you approach Johnson City. All in all, it's not a bad drive, only 3.5 hours.

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Every time I use that interchange, I think about how dead it is. That's the only interstate interchange I know of in the South where there is absolutely nothing around it.

The I-26/I-85 interchange just north of Spartanburg would come in at a hardy second, though. :D

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The I-26/I-85 interchange just north of Spartanburg would come in at a hardy second, though. :D

85/26 is a completely different situation than 95/26.

If you look at the old 85/26 intersection you will see that there is no room for development. The old 85 through Spartanburg has zero land available- which is why they built that new one to start with. The new intersection has not had time to fill in with that type of development yet, IMO. You have to consider that the area around it was already somewhat developed with other uses when they cut the new interestate through. The future potential for land around the new 85 is great. I just hope that county planners have some good ideas going.

95/26 is in the middle of nowhere. I have theard that developers are looking to build an industrial park at that intersection. The problem is that the location is pretty far away from any significant city (Orangeburg is something like 15-20 mins), so no matter what people would be driving a long time to get there.

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"Old I-85"? I had no idea there was an "old" one.

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95/26 is in the middle of nowhere. I have theard that developers are looking to build an industrial park at that intersection. The problem is that the location is pretty far away from any significant city (Orangeburg is something like 15-20 mins), so no matter what people would be driving a long time to get there.

Eventually, you will be seeing permanent residents residing in the Santee/Lake Marion area. That may help bring development over at the I-95/I-26 juncture for the future. The driving/distance times are half of Orangeburg.

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"Old I-85"? I had no idea there was an "old" one.

Yep. When they widened 85 thorugh the Upstate, they decided that it would be less expensive to build a new bypass around Spartanburg, rather than deal with the interchange upgrades and ROW's in Spartanburg. As a result you have the I-85 "Interstate Loop" -basicly Business 85- which is the old 85, and the regular I-85, which is the new one.

spartanburg8526.gif

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I didn't know that. When was I-85 built through SC anyway?

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I didn't know that. When was I-85 built through SC anyway?

I-85 was constructed through upstate SC in stages. The first stage was in 1957-1959 when it was built between what is now SC-129 west of Spartanburg and the North Carolina state line near Grover. This section was built over the existing alignment of US-29 which had only recently been constructed as a bypass of Spartanburg, Gaffney, and Blacksburg.

The final sections were completed between 1959-1962 between the Georgia state line and SC-129 in Spartanburg County.

I-85 was re-routed around Spartanburg in 1995. The "old" 85 was designated Business 85.

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