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definition - Interstate_26

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Interstate 26


Interstate 26 marker

Interstate 26
Route information
Length: 349 mi[1] (562 km)
Major junctions
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
Highway system

Interstate Highway System
Main • Auxiliary • Business

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 was also planned in Asheville, but has been postponed indefinitely due to North Carolina's budget shortfalls.[3]

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
TN 55 89
NC 71 114
SC 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 signed north—south as U.S. Route 23 (and Interstate 181). Although this is consistent with the south-to-north numbering conventions, this exit numbering was changed on all 284 signs along I-26 to be consistent with the rest of the east-to-west-numbered highway in March 2007. The remaining I-181 signs north of I-81 were also replaced with I-26 signs at that time.In Tennessee, I-26 continues in a northeast direction past Erwin, TN. As it approaches Johnson City, TN in the Tri-Cities area, it leaves the Cherokee National Forest and swings around to the northwest towards its major interchange with Interstate 81 at Colonial Heights, TN. The terminus of I-26 is at its junction with U.S. Route 11W west of Kingsport, TN, as US-23 continues over the remaining 1 mile (1.6 km) to the Virginia state line.

  North Carolina

  I-26 in Polk County, NC

About 20 miles (32 km) beyond 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 a major interchange with Interstate 40 in Asheville, N.C.. After 3 miles (4.8 km), U.S. Route 23 joins I-26 west of Asheville and follows it into Tennessee. The two interstates cross the French Broad River then, having shared the highway for 4.5 miles (7.2 km), immediately part company. As I-240 continues to swing round to the north and east of Asheville, I-26 turns north towards Weaverville and Mars Hill, N.C. It enters first the Blue Ridge and then the Walnut Mountains and Bald Mountains of the Appalachian range, passing through the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests as it does so.

As I-26 crosses the Bald Mountains near the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, it travels through a relatively high-elevation rural area. At Buckner Gap, I-26 reaches 3370 ft. in elevation.[4] It reaches its highest elevation of 3,760 feet (1,150 m)[5] at Sam's Gap. For 2 miles (3.2 km) each side of the state line, its elevation is at least 3,000 feet (910 m).[6]

  South Carolina

  South I-26 in South Carolina, about 27 miles south of the I-385 interchange.

Beginning in the city of Charleston, I-26 travels northwestwardly over flat plains with little urbanization past Summerville. After the junction with I-95 just inside of Orangeburg County, the terrain becomes somewhat hilly. 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.[citation needed] Beyond Interstate 77 is the Columbia metropolitan area with 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 Newberry. Later, I-26 splitts off north toward Spartanburg, where I-26 has a junction with the Interstate 85 corridor, which has a significant amount of international business and manufacturing. The 11-mile (18 km) section of I-26 from Interstate 126 in Columbia to US 176 at Exit 97 was the first section of the highway to open up to traffic (on September 7, 1960).


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.


Future plate blue.svg

The Appalachian Regional Commission has two corridors approved as part of the part of the Appalachian Development Highway System:

Corridor B begins at the I-26 and I-40 intersection near Asheville, NC and terminates at a point north of Portsmouth, Ohio
Corridor C begins at the terminus of Corridor B and terminates at Columbus, Ohio.[7]

The western terminus of I-26 was originally planned to be Columbus, Ohio, over a route that used Corridors B and C. Although the corridors and termini remain on file, and much of the route has been implemented as four-lane US Highways, planning for I-26 north and west of Kingsport, Tennessee has been overtaken by commitments to work on other construction projects.

Additionally, part of the High Priority route of the I-73/74 North–South Corridor duplicates part of the planned I-26 route, and has already been tabled for construction in Ohio.[8][9]

At the time of writing, the state transportation authorities of Virginia,[10] Kentucky[11] and Ohio[12] have no plans to extend I-26.

  Exit list


County Location Mile Exit # Destinations Notes
Old New
Sullivan Kingsport US 23 north – Gate City Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
57 0 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-81 – Knoxville, 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-67 – Elizabethton
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-107 – Erwin, 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
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/former     Incomplete access     Unopened

  North Carolina

County Location # Destinations Notes
Madison 3 US 23A south – Wolf Laurel
9 US 19 north / US 23A north – Burnsville, Spruce Pine West end of US 19 overlap
Mars Hill 11 NC 213 – Mars Hill, Marshall
Buncombe 13 Stockton Rd., Old Mars Hill Hwy. – Forks of Ivy
15 NC 197 – Jupiter, Barnardsville
17 Mars Hill Hwy., N. Buncombe School Rd. – Flat Creek
Weaverville 18
US 19 Bus. south / Monticello Road – Weaverville
19 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
21 New Stock Road - Weaverville
Woodfin 23
US 25 / US 19 Bus. (Merrimon Avenue) – North Asheville, New Bridge
East end of US 25 overlap; US 19 Business hidden at intersection
24 Elk Mountain Road - Woodfin
Asheville 25 NC 251 – Craggy Access to University of North Carolina-Asheville
26 I-240 / US 70 / US 74A east East end of US 70/US 74 Alt. overlap
28 US 19 / US 23 south / US 74A west East end of US 19/US 23/US 74 Alt. overlap; west end of US 19 Bus./US 23 Bus. overlap
US 19 Bus. south / US 23 Bus. south – West Asheville
U.S. 19 Business and U.S. 23 Business join westbound and leave eastbound.
30 NC 191 (Brevard Rd.)
31 I-40 / US 74 west – Canton, Knoxville, Marion Signed as exits 31A (I-40 East) and 31B (I-40/US 74 West); West end of US 74 overlap
33 NC 191 / Blue Ridge Parkway
37 NC 146 – Skyland, Avery Creek
40 NC 280 – Arden, Mills River Access to the Asheville Regional Airport.
Henderson 44
US 25 north / US 25 Bus. south – Fletcher, Mountain Home
West end of US 25 overlap
Hendersonville 49 US 64 – Hendersonville, Bat Cave Signed as exits 49A (east) and 49B (west)
53 Upward Road - Hendersonville
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 59 Holbert Cove Rd. – Saluda
Columbus 67 US 74 east / NC 108 – Columbus, Rutherfordton, Tryon East end of US 74 overlap
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
     Concurrency terminus     Closed/former     Incomplete access     Unopened

  South Carolina

See Interstate 26 in South Carolina#Exit list.

  Auxiliary routes


  1. ^ "Interstate 26 @ Interstate-Guide.com". Interstate Guide. http://www.interstate-guide.com/i-026.html. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  2. ^ Google, Inc. Google Maps – overview map of I-26 (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=6310337734879748054,36.588650,-82.574130%3B14384335689451893313,32.799754,-79.945133&saddr=Exit+57+%4036.588650,+-82.574130&daddr=32.799721,-79.945064&mra=dme&mrcr=0&mrsp=1&sz=16&sll=32.799703,-79.942682&sspn=0.008153,0.014462&ie=UTF8&ll=34.759666,-80.057373&spn=4.079227,7.382813&z=7. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  3. ^ "I-26 connector on hold indefinitely". http://www.mountainx.com/article/1499/Carolina-Public-Press-report-I-26-connector-on-hold-indefinitely. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  4. ^ "The New I-26 Virtual Tour". Millenniumhwy.net. http://www.millenniumhwy.net/I-26_tour/page5.html. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  5. ^ "Sams Gap - NC/TN Border". Waymarking.com. http://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=19924d8c-c790-4bdf-a629-293603aa321c. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  6. ^ "Maptech website - Sams Gap". Mapserver.mytopo.com. http://mapserver.mytopo.com/homepage/index.cfm?lat=35.95472&lon=-82.56083&scale=24000&zoom=100&type=1&icon=0&searchscope=dom&CFID=4710347&CFTOKEN=35330172&scriptfile=http://mapserver.mytopo.com/homepage/index.cfm&latlontype=DMS. Retrieved 2011-11-27. 
  7. ^ "Appalachian Development Highway System approved corridors and termini". http://www.arc.gov/program_areas/ADHSApprovedCorridorsandTermini.asp. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  8. ^ "Interstate Guide - I26 - Future Aspirations". http://www.interstate-guide.com/i-026.html. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  9. ^ "High Priority Corridor 5". http://www.aaroads.com/high-priority/corr05.html. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  10. ^ "Virginia Dept of Transportation projects - Bristol". http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/bristol/default.asp. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  11. ^ "Kentucky Transport Cabinet road projects". http://www.roadprojects.ky.gov/. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  12. ^ "Ohio Dept of Transport Projects and Studies". http://www.dot.state.oh.us/projects/Pages/default.aspx. Retrieved 2010-11-27. 

  External links

Browse numbered routes
US 25 NC NC 27


All translations of Interstate_26

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