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Interstate 26 shield
Interstate 26
Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Length: 349 mi[1] (561.66 km)
West end: US-11W / US-23 / SR-1 / SR-137 in Kingsport, TN
I-81 in Kingsport, TN
I-40 in Asheville, NC
US 25 near Hendersonville, NC
US 74 in Columbus, NC
I-85 near Spartanburg, SC
I-385 near Laurens, SC
I-20 near Columbia, SC
I-77 near Columbia, SC
I-95 near Rosinville SC
East end: US 17 in Charleston, SC

Interstate 26 (I-26) is a nominally east–west (but physically more northwest-southeast) main route of the Interstate Highway System in the Southeastern United States. I-26 runs from the junction of U.S. Route 11W and U.S. Route 23 in Kingsport, Tennessee, generally southeastward to U.S. Route 17 in Charleston, South Carolina.[2] The portion from Mars Hill, North Carolina, east (compass south) to Interstate 240 in Asheville, North Carolina, has signs indicating FUTURE I-26 because the highway does not yet meet all of the Interstate Highway standards. A short realignment as an improvement in the expressway is also planned in Asheville.

Prior to August 5, 2003, the highway's northwestern terminus was at Interstate 40 on the southwestern side of Asheville, where the highway continued on to make a loop around downtown as Interstate 240. In 2003, it was decided to extend the expressway northwest of Asheville into Tennessee. Next, the final section of the freeway in North Carolina, from Mars Hill north to the Tennessee state line, replaced the old two-lane highway U.S. Route-23. I-26 was extended into Tennessee via the US 23 freeway, taking over approximately one-half of the former Interstate 181 from U.S. Route 321 in Johnson City, to the Interstate 81 interchange southeast of Kingsport, Tennessee. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) initially ruled against an extension of Interstate 26 (as the number) along the remainder of I-181 to Kingsport, since that would give a main route Interstate Highway (I-26) a so-called "stub end", not connecting to any other Interstate highway, to an international border, or to a seacoast. The numerical extension was in 2005 enacted by the effect of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, signed into law on August 10, 2005. Thus, the I-26 designation extends to Kingsport, and it ends about to two miles (three kilometers) south of the Virginia state line, while the freeway itself continues to the state line as US 23.

Northwards from Kingsport, US-23 continues north to Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Corridor B of the Appalachian Development Highway System, and beyond to Columbus, as the Corridor C. In conjunction with the Columbus-Toledo, Ohio corridor formed by Interstate 75, U.S. 23, and State Route 15, I-26 forms part of a mostly high-speed four-or-more-lane highway from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast at Charleston, South Carolina. There are no plans for further official Interstate 26 extensions into Virginia, Kentucky, or beyond.


Route description

  mi km
Tenn. 55 89
N.C. 71 114
S.C. 220.95 355.58
Total 347 558

I-26 is a diagonal Interstate Highway, which runs northwest/southeast. Most of the other highway routes in this area are odd-numbered and run northeast/southwest. The extension past Asheville is mostly north–south. Where I-26 crosses the French Broad River in Asheville at the Smoky Park Bridge, the highway runs in opposite directions from its designations. (I-26 West actually goes east. I-26 is coterminous with I-240, so that I-240 East and I-26 West are the same route.) When the extension was made in 2003, the exit numbers in North Carolina were increased by 31 to reflect the new mileage. The part that it shares with I-240 has not had its numbers changed yet, although most of the road signs now indicate I-26 instead of I-240.

I-26 has signs with an extra FUTURE sign above (and in the same style as) the EAST and WEST signs from Asheville north to Mars Hill, North Carolina, because the older U.S. Route 23 freeway does not yet meet all of the Interstate Highway standards. The road shoulders remain substandard or nonexistent along short sections of the route, and also, a rebuilding is planned in Asheville to avoid some tight interchanges.

The exit numbers in Tennessee were formerly numbered "backwards" - increasing from "east" (physically south) to "west" (physically north), because this highway was formerly the Interstate 181 & U.S. Route 23, two north/south roads. Although this is consistent with the south-to-north numbering that drivers expect, this exit numbering was changed to be consistent with the rest of the east-to-west-numbered highway in March 2007 on all 284 signs along the I-26 route. The remaining I-181 signs north of I-81 were also replaced with I-26 signs at that time. The old exit numbers will be displayed on signs along with the new ones until March 2009.

South I-26 in South Carolina, about 27 miles beyond the I-385 interchange (to the north).

Beginning in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, I-26 travels northwestwardly over flat plains with little urbanization past North Charleston. After the junction with Interstate 95 just inside of Orangeburg County, the terrain becomes somewhat hilly. Despite the rural surroundings, this section of I-26 is often quite crowded, since this highway is frequently heavily-traveled, and there are only two lanes in each direction. Orangeburg is the first major stop outside Charleston with several exits bearing this name. Between Orangeburg and the junction with Interstate 77 just outside of Cayce the highway goes up and down a few very long hills averaging about 100 feet (30 m) or 30 meters high. Beyond Interstate 77 is the Columbia, S.C metropolitan area to which I-26 offers lodging, dining, and shopping possibilities. This metropolitan area ends mostly after exit 101, past which the terrain becomes somewhat hilly once again. The next city is Spartanburg, where I-26 has a junction with the Interstate 85 corridor, which has a significant amount of international business and manufacturing. The 9-mile (14 km) section of I-26 from Interstate 126 in Columbia to US-176 at Exit 97 was the first section of this Interstate Highway to open up to traffic (on Sept. 7, 1960).

About 20 miles (32 km) after Spartanburg one reaches the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After crossing the border into Polk County, North Carolina, I-26 intersects with U.S. Route 74, a limited-access freeway near Columbus, N.C., and it heads up a 6% grade for the next three miles through the Howard Gap. Then it passes over the highest bridge in North Carolina, the Peter Guice Memorial Bridge, 225 feet (69 m) above Green River between Saluda and Flat Rock in Henderson County, North Carolina, and it crosses the Eastern Continental Divide at an elevation of 2,130 feet (650 m), having climbed from an elevation of around 1,100 feet (340 m) at the U.S. 74 interchange. The land flattens substantially after entering the French Broad River drainage basin from Flat Rock, N.C. to Hendersonville, N.C., Fletcher, N.C., and Arden, N.C..

I-26 has major interchanges with Interstate 40 in Asheville, North Carolina (before going over the Appalachians) and with Interstate 81 in the Tri-Cities, Tennessee area. Interstate 26 ends at U.S. Route 23 in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Exit list



County Location Mile Exit # Destinations Notes
Old New
Sullivan Kingsport US 23 north – Gate City Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
57 SR-36 south (Lynn Garden Drive) Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
55 1 US-11W (West Stone Drive, SR-1) West end of I-26; south end of SR-137
Bridge over the Holston River
52 3 Meadowview Parkway
51 4 SR-93 (Wilcox Drive, SR-126) Signed as exits 4A (south) and 4B (north) eastbound
49 6 SR-347 (Rock Springs Road)
46 8 I-81Knoxville, Bristol Signed as exits 8A (south) and 8B (north)
45 10 Eastern Star Road
Washington Johnson City 42 13 SR-75 (Suncrest Drive, Bobby Hicks Highway) – Gray
38 17 SR-354 (Boones Creek Road) – Jonesborough
36 19 SR-381 (State of Franklin Road) – Bristol
35 20 US-11E / US-19W north (Roan Street, SR-34/SR-36 north) West end of US-19W/SR-36 overlap; signed as exits 20A (south) and 20B (north) westbound
33 22 SR-400 (Unaka Avenue, Watauga Avenue)
32 23 SR-91 (Market Street, Main Street)
31 24 US-321 / SR-67Elizabethton
Carter 28 27 SR-359 north (Okolona Road)
Unicoi Unicoi 23 32 SR-173 (Unicoi Road)
21 34 Tinker Road
Erwin 19 36 Main Street - Erwin
18 37 SR-81 / SR-107Erwin, Jonesborough
15 40 Jackson-Love Highway - Erwin
12 43 US-19W south (Temple Hill Road, SR-36 south) to SR-352 East end of US-19W/SR-36 overlap
9 46 Clear Branch Road
5 50 Flag Pond Road

North Carolina

County Location Exit # Destinations Notes
Old New
Madison 3
US 23 Alt. – Wolf Laurel
9 US 19 north – Burnsville, Spruce Pine West end of US 19 overlap
Mars Hill 11 NC 213Mars Hill, Marshall
Temporary east end of I-26 at NC 213
Buncombe 13 Forks of Ivy
14 NC 197Jupiter, Barnardsville
15 Flat Creek
Weaverville 16
US 19 Bus. south / Monticello Road – Weaverville
17 US 25 north / US 70 west – Marshall, Weaverville West end of US 25/US 70 overlap; signed as exits 25A (north/west) and 25B (Weaverville) westbound
18 New Stock Road - Weaverville
Woodfin 19 US 25.svg US 25 (Merrimon Avenue) south - North Asheville, New Bridge East end of US 25 overlap
20 Elk Mountain Road - Woodfin
Asheville 21 NC 251University of North Carolina-Asheville
22 Hill Street Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
23 I-240 east / US 70 east (US 74A.svg US 74 Alt. east) East end of US 70 overlap; west end of I-240/US 74 Alt. overlap
Temporary west end of I-26; west end of I-240 overlap
4B 24 Patton Avenue - Downtown Asheville
3B 25 Westgate, Holiday Inn Drive
3A 27 US 19 south / US 23 south (US 74A.svg US 74 Alt. west) East end of US 19/US 23/US 74 Alt. overlap; west end of US 19 Bus./US 23 Bus. overlap
2 28
US 19 Bus. south / US 23 Bus. south – West Asheville
U.S. 19 Business and U.S. 23 Business join westbound and leave eastbound.
1C 29 Amboy Road Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
1B 30 NC 191 (Brevard Road) to I-40 east
East end of I-240 overlap at I-40
1B 31B I-40 west / US 74Canton, Knoxville West end of US 74 overlap; signed as exit 1A eastbound
1A 31A I-40 east – Hickory Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
2 33 NC 191 / Blue Ridge Parkway
6 37 NC 146Skyland
9 40 NC 280Asheville Regional Airport, Arden
Henderson 13 44
US 25 north / US 25 Bus. south – Fletcher, Mountain Home
West end of US 25 overlap
Hendersonville 18 49 US 64Hendersonville, Bat Cave Signed as exits 49A (east) and 49B (west)
22 53 Upward Road - Hendersonville
23 54 US 25 south to US 176 / NC 225 - Greenville East end of US 25 overlap
Peter Guice Memorial Bridge over the Green River
Polk 28 59 Saluda
Columbus 36 67 US 74 east / NC 108Columbus, Rutherfordton, Tryon East end of US 74 overlap

South Carolina

County Location # Destinations Notes
Spartanburg 1 SC 14 south – Landrum Northern terminus of South Carolina 14
5 SC 11 (Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway) – Campobello, Chesnee To Cowpens Battlefield
10 SC 292Inman, New Prospect
Spartanburg 15 US 176 to I-585Inman, Spartanburg
16 John Dodd Road - Wellford, Spartanburg
17 New Cut Road - Sigsbee, Cunningham, Spartanburg
18 I-85Greenville, Gaffney Signed as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
19 I-85 Bus.Spartanburg, Wellford Signed as exits 19A (south) and 19B (north)
21 US 29Greer, Spartanburg Signed as exits 21A (south) and 21B (north)
22 SC 296 (Reidville Road) – Roebuck, Spartanburg, Reidville
28 US 221Spartanburg, Moore, Woodruff, Roebuck
35 Road 50 - Woodruff
38 SC 146Cross Anchor, Woodruff
41 SC 92 – Enoree
44 SC 49Laurens, Cross Anchor, Union
Bridge over the Enoree River
51 I-385 north – Laurens, Greenville Westbound exit & Eastbound entrance
52 SC 56Cross Anchor, Clinton
54 SC 72Clinton, Whitmire
60 SC 66Joanna, Whitmire
Newberry 66 Road 32 - Jalapa
Newberry 72 SC 121Newberry, Whitmire, Union
74 SC 34Newberry, Winnsboro
76 SC 219Newberry, Pomaria
82 SC 773Prosperity, Pomaria
85 SC 202Pomaria, Little Mountain
Lexington 91 Columbia Avenue - Chapin
Richland 97 US 176Ballentine, White Rock, Peak
Irmo 101 US 76 west / US 176 (Broad River Road) – Ballentine, White Rock Signed as Exits 101A (west) & 101B (east)
102 SC 60 (Lake Murray Boulevard) – Irmo Signed as Exits 102A (west-Irmo) and 102B (east)
103 Harbison Boulevard
Lexington 104 Piney Grove Road
106 St. Andrews Road Signed as Exits 106A (west) and 106B (east) Westbound
Richland 107 I-20Florence, Augusta Signed as Exits 107A (west) and 107B (east)
Columbia 108A Bush River Road
108B I-126 east / US 76Columbia East end of US 76 overlap
Bridge over the Saluda River
110 US 378Lexington, West Columbia
111 US 1 to SC 12Lexington, West Columbia Signed as exits 111A (south) and 111B (north)
Springdale 113 SC 302Springdale, Cayce, Columbia Airport
Cayce 115 US 21 / US 176 / US 321Gaston, Cayce, Columbia
116 I-77 north Charlotte
119 US 21 / US 176St. Matthews, Dixiana
Calhoun 125 Old Sandy Run Road (Road 31) - Gaston Sandy Run
Lexington 129 US 21
Calhoun 136 SC 6North, St. Matthews, Swansea
Orangeburg 139 Burke Road — Road 22 St. Matthews
Orangeburg 145 US 601Orangeburg, St. Matthews Signed as exits 145A (south) and 145B (north)
149 SC 33Orangeburg, Cameron
154 US 301Orangeburg, Santee, Elloree Signed as exits 154A (south) and 154B (north)
159 Homestead Road - Bowman
165 SC 210Bowman, Vance
169 I-95Florence, Savannah Signed as exits 169A (south) and 169B (north)
Dorchester 172 US 15St. George, Holly Hill, Santee Signed as exits 172A (south) and 172B (north)
177 SC 453Harleyville, Holly Hill
187 SC 27Ridgeville, St. George
Bridge over the Ashley River (Wassamassaw Swamp)
Berkeley 194 Road 16 - Jedburg, Pinopolis
US 17 Alt.Lincolnville, Summerville, Moncks Corner
Signed as exits 199A (south) and 199B (north)
Charleston Ladson 203 College Park Road - Goose Creek, Ladson
North Charleston 205 US 78 to US 52Goose Creek Signed as exits 205A (west) and 205B (east)
209A US 52 / US 78Goose Creek, Moncks Corner Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
209B Ashley Phosphate Road Signed as exit 209A eastbound
211 West Aviation Avenue - Charleston AFB Signed as exits 211A (west) and 211B (east)
212A Remount Road Eastbound exit is via exit 211B
212 I-526Mount Pleasant, Savannah Signed as exits 212B (west) and 212C (east)
213 Montague Avenue, Mall Drive Signed as exits 213A (west) and 213B (east) eastbound
215 SC 642 (Dorchester Road)
216 SC 7 (Cosgrove Avenue) to US 17 south – Charleston Naval Base Signed as exits 216A (south) and 216B (north)
217 US 52 (North Meeting Street) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Charleston 218 Spruill Avenue - Charleston Naval Base Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
219A Rutledge Avenue - The Citadel Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
219B Morrison Drive, East Bay Street (US 52 Spur) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
220A Romney Street Westbound exit only
220B US 17 north – Mount Pleasant, Georgetown Signed as exit 220 eastbound
221A US 17 south - Savannah Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
221B US 52 (Meeting Street) Eastbound exit and westbound entrance;Eastern Terminus of Interstate 26

Auxiliary routes

External links


  1. ^ "Interstate 26 @". Interstate Guide. Retrieved 2008-02-15.  
  2. ^ Google, Inc. Google Maps – overview map of I-26 [map]. Cartography by Tele Atlas. Retrieved on 2008-02-15.
Main Interstate Highways (major interstates highlighted)
4 5 8 10 12 15 16 17 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 29 30
35 37 39 40 43 44 45 49 55 57 59 64 65 66 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 (W) 76 (E) 77 78 79 80 81 82
83 84 (W) 84 (E) 85 86 (W) 86 (E) 87 88 (W) 88 (E) 89 90
91 93 94 95 96 97 99 (238) H-1 H-2 H-3
Unsigned  A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 PRI-1 PRI-2 PRI-3
Lists  Primary  Main - Intrastate - Suffixed - Future - Gaps
Auxiliary  Main - Future - Unsigned
Other  Standards - Business - Bypassed
Browse numbered routes
< US 25 NC NC 27 >

Simple English

Interstate 26 is an Interstate Highway in the United States. It goes from Kingsport, Tennessee southeast to Charleston, South Carolina. The route is 349 miles (562 km) long.

Main Interstates (numbers that end in 0 or 5 are colored pink)
4 5 8 10 12 15 16 17 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 29 30
35 37 39 40 43 44 45 49 55 57 59 64 65 66 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 (W) 76 (E) 77 78 79 80 81 82
83 84 (W) 84 (E) 85 86 (W) 86 (E) 87 88 (W) 88 (E) 89 90
91 93 94 95 96 97 99 (238) H-1 H-2 H-3
Unsigned  A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 PRI-1 PRI-2 PRI-3


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