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U.S. Route 23: Wikis


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U.S. Route 23 shield
U.S. Route 23
Length: 1435.17 mi[1] (2,309.68 km)
Formed: 1926[2]
South end: US 1 / US 17 / SR 115 in Jacksonville, FL
I-95 in Jacksonville, FL

I-16 / I-75 in Macon, GA
I-20 / I-85 in Atlanta, GA
I-40 near Asheville, NC
I-26 near Kingsport, TN
I-64 near Ashland, KY
I-70 / I-71 in Columbus, OH
I-75 in Perrysburg, OH
I-94 in Ann Arbor, MI
I-96 in Brighton, MI
I-69 in Flint, MI

North end: I-75 at Mackinaw City, MI
United States Numbered Highways

U.S. Route 23 is a long north–south U.S. highway between Jacksonville, Florida, and Mackinaw City, Michigan. It is an original 1926 route which originally reached only as far south as Portsmouth, Ohio, and has since been extended.


Route description

  mi[1] km
FL 37.67 60.66
GA 391.69 630.74
NC 109.22 175.88
TN 78.14 125.83
VA 60.91 98.08
KY 157.76 253.89
OH 234.86[3] 378.20
MI 364.92 587.63
1435.17 2309.68


US 23 is signed along the following unsigned state roads:

Except in downtown Jacksonville, US 23 is concurrent with U.S. Route 1 south of Alma, Georgia. US 23 is also concurrent with U.S. Route 301 between Homeland, Georgia and Callahan.


Enter from Florida concurrent with US 1 and US 301 at

  • Homeland, leave 301 and continue northwest with US1

Waycross, GA Intersect US 82, US 84 Split from US 1 7 miles north of Alma

  • Hazlehurst intersect US 221 and begin US 341 (Designated Golden Isles Parkway) concurrency
  • McRae intersect with US 280, US 319 and US 441
  • Eastman leaves US 341 concurrency Designated "Golden Isles Highway' to junction with I-16 near Macon.
  • Cochran begin US 129-ALT concurrency
  • Macon intersect: [Interstate 16 near old Camp Wheeler North of I-16 known as Ocmulgee East Blvd, turns left as Emory Highway then turns left again as Spring Street crosses I-75 and Ocmulgee River then Right as Riverside Drive. parallels Ocmulee River and I-75US 41, US 80 and leaves US 129-ALT. Crosses I-75 again and continues to Jackson Ga
  • Enter metro Atlanta as Moreland Ave, turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave (concurrency with US 29, US 78 and US 278) then left on Clairemont Ave (transition to Clairmont Road) and turn right and leave metro Atlanta as Buford Highway
  • Buford turns right onto GA 20, then left on I-985, GA 365.
  • Gainesville intersect US 129. At I-985 end, continue concurrently with GA 365 north. Signage was missing from Buford Highway north (at turn onto GA-20), but returned at the controlled access end of I-985, continuing north on GA 365.
  • Cornelia intersect US 123 and begin US 441 concurrency
  • Clayton intersect US 76
  • North Carolina state line

Though US 23 roughly parallels Interstate 75 from Macon to Atlanta, and the two routes come within a few miles in Atlanta, U.S. 23 only intersects with I-75 at the Riverside Drive exit in Macon, Georgia. It crosses back over 75 a few miles south. This is the only place that 23 runs west of 75 until many miles to the north, in Perrysburg, Ohio (near Toledo).

Along the city limit and then fully within the city of Atlanta, it is known as Moreland Avenue (concurrent with Georgia 42), running for several miles in a perfectly straight and due north/south line, which is also the Fulton/DeKalb county line.

North Carolina

The highway runs concurrent with U.S. 441 between the Georgia state line and Dillsboro, then with U.S. 74 through Waynesville as the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway, followed by U.S. 19 through Canton and Enka-Candler. North of Asheville, the highway follows I-26 to the Tennessee state line.


US 23 runs concurrently with the newly-upgraded I-26 from the North Carolina state line past Johnson City and Kingsport. Just west of Kingsport, I-26 stops but US 23 continues to run north to the Virginia State Line.


US 23 extends for 61 miles (98 km) through extreme Southwest Virginia with the southern point beginning at Weber City and the northern point ending at Pound. It runs concurrent with US 58 and US 421 from Gate City to Duffield. It crosses the Clinch River near Clinchport. From Duffield to Big Stone Gap, it passes through the Jefferson National Forest. The entire route is a four-lane divided highway. The stretch of highway is known as the crooked road and is a symbol of the highway's importance to country music.

US 23 passes through the following cities and counties in Virginia as well: Gate City in Scott County, Norton (an independent city), Wise in Wise County and Pound, Virginia, also located in Wise County, Virginia


The Kentucky portion of the route is mainly four-lane divided, but is wider in some cities.


US 23 near Marion, Ohio
  • US 23 crosses the Ohio River from Kentucky and enters Portsmouth.
  • US 23 goes through the towns of Lucasville, Waverly, Piketon, Chillicothe, and Circleville, before reaching Columbus.
  • US 23 mostly follows High Street in Columbus, which was the original route. However, it now bypasses the central business district and northern Columbus neighborhoods by following the one-way pair 4th Street (northbound) and 3rd/Summit Street (southbound) between the downtown area and Hudson Street, and Indianola Avenue north before returning to its original course on High Street at Morse Road.
  • US 23 follows High Street northbound from Columbus, going through Worthington, skirting the village of Lewis Center, entering Delaware at the Cheshire Road intersection.
  • After US 23 intersects the northern terminus of Ohio State Route 315 and passes a retail district, it becomes a limited access expressway, bypassing downtown Delaware, before resuming as a freeway with at-grade crossings north of the city.[4]
  • At Waldo, US 23 again becomes a freeway. It continues as a freeway throughout most of Marion County, then resumes at-grade crossings with a mix of some freeway-style junctions which are otherwise signalized after the Morral interchange.[4]
  • US 23 coincides with divided State Route 15, until it takes a different route at the Carey exit. SR 15 continues on to Findlay, and is designed to allow most traffic to bypass the northern stretch of US 23 by offering a fast connection to Interstate 75.
  • US 23 continues north through Carey, Fostoria, and Risingsun.
  • West of Woodville, US 23 intersects with US 20, where it has a coincidental route for several miles.
  • US 23 then joins I-75 near Perrysburg, then follows I-475 around the west side of Toledo, passing through Sylvania before entering Michigan. In the portion where I-75 and US 23 overlap, this is a wrong-way concurrency, with southbound I-75 concurrent with northbound US 23, and northbound I-75 concurrent with southbound US 23 in this stretch.

US 23 passes near the birthplace of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes in Delaware, as well as near the home of U.S. President Warren G. Harding in Marion.


US 23 is a freeway bypass for Interstate 75 west of Detroit, Michigan, and then the Sunrise Side Coastal Highway along the shore of Lake Huron to its end at Mackinaw City.

US 23 junctions with I-69 while co-routed with I-75 in Flint, Michigan.

US 23 junctions with I-75 south of Flint, Michigan and breaks off from I-75 south of Standish, becoming a two-lane road. U.S. 23 then goes north following Lake Huron and ends at an intersection with I-75 south of Downtown Mackinaw City.

US 23 junctions with I-96 north of Brighton, Michigan.

US 23 junctions with US 12 (formerly M-23) south of Ann Arbor.


A US 23 shield used in Florida prior to 1993


US 23 was extended into Florida along U.S. Route 1 in 1951. When the 20th Street Expressway was built around downtown Jacksonville, U.S. Route 1 was moved but US 23 remained. It has never changed its route in Florida, though at one time it was planned to extend south, maybe to Fort Myers via US 17, SR 19, SR 33, US 98, US 17, and SR 31.


In the mid to late 20th century when the coal industry declined in Eastern Kentucky, it was said the three "R's" of the region were "reading, writing and Route 23 to Columbus", as the Ohio capital became a popular out-migration destination for unemployed miners and their families.

U. S. route 23 in Kentucky runs for 157.76 miles (253.89 km), (231.9 km) from the Ohio River to Pound Gap on the Virginia border and is known as "The Country Music Highway". At each county line a road sign designates the highway and names the country music artists from the county. From the north to south, the counties are:

During the past few years the highway has been widened to four or more lanes through its entire length within Kentucky and is one of the more scenic routes in Kentucky. It is six lanes in parts of the city of Pikeville. In 2002, it was offically named a National Scenic Byway.


Originally known as the Columbus-Sandusky Turnpike, the road was laid out about 1820. Within four years it was noted as having frequent use, although it was in poor condition. As a result, on February 10, 1824, James Kilbourne of the Ohio House of Representatives introduced a petition to revise and correct the state road leading from Columbus and Worthington to Delaware, Norton and further north. Kilbourne believed that the Sandusky Bay was the perfect place for a harbor to open up the Ohio marketplace to New England. He fought relentlessly to establish roads from the capital to Sandusky. He laid out a southern extension of the road to tie Portsmouth on the Ohio River to the central and northern parts of the state. As a result of Kilbourne's efforts, the State of Ohio chartered the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company on January 31, 1826. The following year the federal government gave 31,840 acres (128.9 km2) in trust to the state of Ohio for the turnpike company to finance road improvements and development.

An 1820 map of Ohio shows the turnpike leading from Columbus to Worthington, through Delaware into Marion County. The southern portion of the improved road was built and in use by 1828. The Columbus-Sandusky Turnpike, also sometimes known as Kilbourne Highway, was completed to Sandusky in 1834. Although the Turnpike was much needed and well traveled, the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company did not have the funds to maintain the road. Early maps show the route as "Mud Pike." Angry at the poor, muddy condition of the road, particularly in the rainiest seasons, travelers occasionally destroyed tollgates. The Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company was disbanded February 28, 1843 when the Ohio legislature repealed the act that incorporated it. Two years later an act was passed that established the road as a public highway. [5]

Drug taskforce

Law enforcement officials from Ohio and Kentucky set up the "US Route 23 Drug Taskforce" in 1996 to patrol the highway for drug trafficking, attempting to halt a major artery of drug networks bringing high quality cannabis (outdoor sativa) grown in Kentucky, North, for distribution in Ohio and elsewhere. Signs can be spotted along Route 23 from Columbus, Ohio to Portsmouth, Ohio warning traffickers that efforts have been taken to prevent their actions.

Some random police stings have been set up at portions of the highway.

Related routes


  1. ^ a b DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2007, Driving Directions. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
  2. ^ Oklahoma Department of Transportation. 1926 United States Numbered Highways [map]. Retrieved on 2007-07-20.
  3. ^ "Technical Services Straight Line Diagrams". Ohio Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  4. ^ a b 2003-2004 Official Ohio Transportation Map. Produced by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
  5. ^ The New Eden, p. 197

External links

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