Interstate 385 or I -385 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The highway forms a regional link connecting the city of Greenville with I-26 toward Columbia. Interstate 385 is 68 kilometers long.
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The starting point of I-385 at Clinton.
Interstate 385 begins as the eastern approach road from downtown Greenville. I-385 has 2×3 lanes and leads through a business park in the east of the city. There is then a large interchange with Interstate 85. The highway then continues through the southeastern suburbs of Greenville, whereupon the route splits, Interstate 185 follows the continuation of the beltway, after which I-385 carries a regional connection in a southeasterly direction. I-385 has 2×3 lanes to the last suburb Fountain Inn, after which the highway continues for another 30 kilometers through rural areas and merges at Clinton on Interstate 26 towards Columbia.
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Before I-385 was built, US 276 connected Greenville to Clinton, where it joined US 76 to Columbia.
The highway was built in the 1960s. The original I-385 was just a spur from downtown Greenville to I-85. The rest of the route to I-26 at Clinton was formed by US 278, which was also built as a highway at the time. The route was significant because Greenville is the largest city in South Carolina that would not otherwise be directly connected to the capital, Columbia, as I-26 follows an easterly route through Spartanburg. However, there was still a missing link for some time, the US 276 was an urban arterial by Mauldinwith traffic lights. To this end, an eastern bypass has been constructed that connected the original I-385 with US 276 towards Clinton, which was probably built in the early 1980s. In 1982, the number I-385 was assigned to the entire highway route up to I-26 at Clinton. It is the main three-digit Interstate Highway in South Carolina.
Around 2004, the route in Greenville was widened to 2×3 lanes. In about 2007, a 9-mile stretch from I-185 to Fountain Inn was widened to 2×3 lanes. In 2012, the Maulding bypass between I-85 and I-185 was widened to 2×3 lanes. With this, about half of I-385 had 2×3 lanes.
Between 2014 and 2020, the interchange between I-85 and I-385 in eastern Greenville was extensively reconstructed. A short section of I-85 will also be widened to 2×4 lanes. Costing $231 million, the project was South Carolina’s largest contract since 2001. The project was awarded in August 2014 and was completed in traffic by December 2019, with other work overrun into 2020.
21,000 vehicles drive daily at the starting point of I-385 near Clinton. This gradually increases towards Greenville to 72,000 vehicles per day at the interchange with I-185. The portion around Mauldin has 61,000 to 74,000 vehicles per day, peaking at 100,000 vehicles per day right after the interchange with I-85.
Interstate 185 in South Carolina
Interstate 185 or I -185 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The interstate and toll road forms an almost complete beltway from downtown Greenville through the southern suburbs. The route is 28 kilometers long.
I-185 forms a half ring road around the southern neighborhoods of Greenville. It’s a somewhat unusual ring road in that it doesn’t circle half the city, but just the southern suburbs. It is actually an alternate approach road from downtown Greenville. The western starting point is US 29 just outside downtown Greenville, the eastern terminus is an interchange with Interstate 385. I-185 has 2×2 lanes and also has an interchange with Interstate 85. The highway also connects to Donaldson Center Airport, a former military base.
The original I-185 ran only between I-85 and Greenville and was opened as a spur of I-85 between 1962 and 1965. The highway was planned at that time as a through route through the center, but in the end only the southwestern approach road was built.
The southern bypass, which is a toll road, opened to traffic on February 27, 2001 for a length of 23 kilometers. This is one of the few cases where a new Interstate Highway has been constructed as a toll road. In 2007, the toll road concessionaire C2A ran into financial trouble because I-185 couldn’t handle the expected traffic, leaving the debt unpaid. In 2010, the concessionaire was declared bankrupt. In 2011, the concessionaire came out of bankruptcy, after which a new concession was concluded with the state of South Carolina.
Interstate 185 is almost entirely a toll road, operated by Connector 2000 Association (C2A), also known as Southern Connector. You can pay tolls in cash or with the PalmettoPass. With a PalmettoPass you get a discount.
Every day, 5,000 to 7,500 vehicles use the toll section of I-185, which is seriously underused. The busiest point is the toll-free section between I-85 and the end of the highway, where 20,000 vehicles travel per day.