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Interstate 520 Georgia / South Carolina

 

Routing

Known as the Bobby Jones Expressway, Interstate 520 (secret Georgia 415) forms a loop around the western and southern portions of the Augusta metropolitan area. The freeway carries four lanes throughout its duration. A recent resurfacing project from U.S. 1 northward included the widening of Interstate 520 to six lanes near the northern terminus. All button copy signage has been replaced as of Fall 2000, with new mileage based exit numbering implemented. The portion of highway from U.S. 1 eastward serves an expansive industrial area amid wetlands within the Savannah River watershed.

The first Interstate 520 South Carolina shield was posted after the Savannah River bridge on June 22, 2004, on the Palmetto Parkway extension that connects Georgia 28 and Sand Bar Ferry Road to U.S. 1-78-278. Plans call for the continuation of the route northeast to rejoin Interstate 20 by 2010. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).

Future Aspirations

Signed east-west, Interstate 520 in reality travels northwest-southeast and will ultimately turn northeast when complete. It became more of an east-west highway with the opening of an easterly extension into South Carolina from the previous end at Laney-Walker Boulevard. The current eastern terminus was extended into South Carolina on June 22, 2004. The new-four lane Palmetto Parkway extends the freeway eastward to U.S. 1 in North Augusta, South Carolina. Completed as Phase 1 of a two phase project to eventually extend Interstate 520 back to Interstate 20, the Palmetto Parkway cost $43 million to build.1

Phase 2 will carry Interstate 520 (also called the Palmetto Parkway) northeast from U.S. 1 in North Augusta back to Interstate 20, making the route more like a beltway rather than a spur route. Interchanges are planned (from south to north) at U.S. 1, South Carolina 125/Belvedere-Clearwater Road, U.S. 25 (near Ascauga Lake Road), and Interstate 20. A $130 million construction contract was awarded in October 2006, and construction began on January 2, 2007. Completion of the 6.5-mile extension of Interstate 520 is planned for December 31, 2009.2 The project will take a bit more than two years to complete, taking a bit less time than otherwise would be expected because the road beds were graded a few years ago, after Phase 1 was completed. The Interchange for Interstate 520/Palmetto Parkway at Interstate 20 will have a connecting road to U.S. 25 as well as a Y-type interchage at Interstate 20.3

It remains unclear if Interstate 520 will retain its designation (odd first digit), or if it will change to reflect its new role as a bypass/belt route around the Augusta metropolitan area with an even first digit.

Planned Improvements

Reconstruction of the Interstate 20 and Interstate 520 interchange northwest of Augusta started in the beginning of July 2007 and is expected to last until 2010. The project will upgrade the current cloverleaf interchange between Interstates 20 and 520 by adding new flyovers that will facilitate movements between Interstate 20 west and Interstate 520 south and Interstate 520 north to Interstate 20 west. In addition, Interstate 20 will see a widening from four to six lanes between the Bobby Jones Expressway interchange and the River Watch Parkway interchange.3

History

Interstate 520 was designated around 1980.

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 20 - Augusta, Georgia
Perspective from Interstate 520 west
Two mile guide sign for Exits 1B/A - Interstate 20 on Interstate 520 westbound, posted just past the Wrightsboro Road interchange (Exit 2). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
The last mainline interchange is Exit 1C for Wheeler Road. This local surface highway also sees an interchange with Interstate 20 at Exit 195 to the west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Interstate 520 westbound within its final mile at Exit 1C/Wheeler Road. The control cities for Interstate 20 feature the capital cities of Georgia and South Carolina. Otherwise there is not much other than pine forest on Interstate 20 outside of Augusta. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
The on-ramp from Wheeler Road becomes the exit-only lane for Interstate 20 east/Exit 1B. A reconstruction project of Interstate 520 during 2000 saw the resurfacing of the highway and installation of sound barriers on both sides of Interstate 520 between Exits 1/Interstate 20 and Exit 5/U.S. 1. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
Interstate 520 westbound at Exit 1B/Interstate 20 east. The east-west freeway will cross the state line in six miles and reach Columbia in 75 miles. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (12/15/01).
A second perspective of the Exit 1B sign bridge of Interstate 520 westbound. The reconstruction of Interstate 520 during the year 2000 saw the replacement of all mainline reassurance shields and guide signage. Some button copy signage still exists on the intersecting side roads however. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Interstate 520 concludes at Exit 1A to Interstate 20 westbound. An End Interstate 520 shield saw installation by February 2001, replacing an Interstate 520 end overhead on the overpass above. Georgia 232 begins at this interchange and proceeds northward as a surface road to Georgia 104. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
END Interstate 520 and Interstate 20 West button copy overheads. These signs were removed during the 2000 resigning project of Interstate 520 (see above photo). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/05/00).
Perspective from Georgia 232 south
Junction Interstate 20/Carl Sanders Highway on Georgia 232 southbound with the Interstate 20/520 cloverleaf interchange in the background. The Carl Sanders Highway designation applies to all of Interstate 20 east of Atlanta. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/01) and Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Southbound Georgia 232 reaches Exit 1A, Junction Interstate 20 west. The second ramp connects Georgia 232 south with eastbound Interstate 20 via a loop ramp. Through traffic transitions directly onto Interstate 520/Bobby Jones Expressway, which quickly widens to six lanes as it passes through this cloverleaf interchange. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Similar to the end Interstate 520/begin Georgia 232 shield assembly on westbound, a begin/end assembly compliments on eastbound. Interstate 520 is also unsigned Georgia 415, so this interchange triples as a terminus location. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Interstate 20 east
The first indication of Interstate 520/Exit 196A/B on Interstate 20 is posted at the Wheeler Road diamond interchange 1.25 miles to the west. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/06/03).
A neutered reassurance marker for Interstate 20 is located after the onramp from Exit 195, Wheeler Road. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
The Wheeler Road eastbound on-ramp becomes the exit-only lane for Interstate 520 east. Pine forest dots the landscape one half mile ahead of the cloverleaf interchange of Exit 196. This landscape is very common among mid-sized Georgian cities. Photos taken by Chris Patriarca (07/06/03) and Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Eastbound Interstate 20 reaches Exit 196A/Junction Interstate 520 east. Control cities are omitted in favor of the proper name for the freeway "Bobby Jones Expressway". The fact that the name is applied to Georgia 232 is a misnomer considering the roadway is a standard surface highway with at-grade intersections. There are seven mainline interchanges of Interstate 520 that serve the city of Augusta; then Interstate 520 crosses the Savannah River into South Carolina. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 20 east
Interstate 26 70 miles at Columbia, SC
Interstate 77 82 miles at Columbia, SC
Interstate 95 147 miles at Florence, SC
Perspective from Interstate 20 west
Three miles separate the second Georgia interchange from the third, Interstate 520, along Interstate 20 westbound. This photo shows the two-mile guide sign for Exits 196B/A. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/06/03).
Interstate 520/Georgia 232 Exits 196B/A overhead on Interstate 20 westbound one mile before the terminus. This interchange is one of four that serve the Augusta metropolitan area in Georgia. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/06/03).
These overheads on westbound Interstate 20 are situated at the Exit 196B/Georgia 232 westbound off-ramp. Georgia 232 serves the Martinez community north of Augusta. The overpass beyond the sign bridge is for Pleasant Home Road. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (04/21/01) and Chris Patriarca (07/06/03).
The eastbound beginning of Interstate 520 from Interstate 20 westbound. The next interchange for both freeways occur at Wheeler Road. Interstate 520 also sees busy interchanges at Exit 3/U.S. 78 and 278 and Exit 5/U.S. 1. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (07/06/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 20 west
Interstate 285 129 miles near Panthersville, GA
Interstate 75/85 139 miles at Atlanta, GA
Interstate 285 145 miles at Atlanta, GA
Perspective from Interstate 520 east
Exit 1C, Wheeler Road, is the first exit on eastbound Interstate 520 after the Interstate 20 cloverleaf interchange. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Former Eastern Terminus - Georgia 28/Sand Bar Ferry Road - Augusta, Georgia
Perspective from Interstate 520 east
The former eastern terminus of Interstate 520 at Laney Walker Road near the Savannah River; construction was underway at the time this photo was taken. The extension east to U.S. 1 is complete, and the remaining route is planned to extend Interstate 520 northeast into South Carolina with an eventual reuniting with Interstate 20. The highway in South Carolina is currently slated to be limited access and would be complete in 2010. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Exit 16 is the last interchange of the Interstate 520 Bobby Jones Expressway. A folded diamond interchange exists with Laney Walker Road at the present time. Adjacent service roads connect Laney Walker Road with Sand Bar Ferry Road to the north. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Traffic departs Interstate 520 to Georgia 28/Laney Walker Road. A 2.50 mile jaunt to the north will bring motorists into downtown Augusta. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Barricades line the stub ends of the Interstate 520 roadways. A berm is already in place between the aforementioned service roads between Georgia 28 and Sand Bar Ferry Road for the eventual Interstate 520 extension. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Interstate 520 west
The first westbound Interstate 520 shield. There are no exits for the next six miles as the Bobby Jones Expressway crosses industrial areas and adjacent wetlands. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Georgia 28 west
Junction Interstate 520 west/Bobby Jones Expressway shield on Georgia 28/Laney Walker Boulevard westbound. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Georgia 28 westbound at the Interstate 520 westbound on-ramp. The berm to the right is part of the eventual Interstate 520 groundwork. Traffic entering from the right is utilizing a westbound service road from Sand Bar Ferry Road. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Georgia 28 east
Interstate 520/Bobby Jones Expressway west junction shield on Georgia 28 eastbound. The traffic light in the foreground is the westbound on-ramp beginning. The traffic light in the background is the current terminal of Interstate 520, with a connecting service road to Sand Bar Ferry Road to the left. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Perspective from Sand Bar Ferry Road
A view to the east of construction for the Interstate 520 extension over the Savannah River into the North Augusta vicinity as seen from Sand Bar Ferry Road northbound. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
The service road westbound that connects Sand Bar Ferry Road with Interstate 520. The traffic light is at Georgia 28/Laney Walker Road. Eventually a westbound off-ramp to Sand Bar Ferry Road will connect to this service road. The Interstate 520 sign above had displayed erroneously U.S. 520 (02/08/01). Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Westbound Interstate 520/Bobby Jones Expressway on-ramp beginning at Georgia 28. Note the barricades ahead over the present stub end of the highway. Photo taken by Chris Patriarca (04/08/03).
Eastern Terminus - U.S. 1, U.S. 78, U.S. 278 - near Clearwater/North Augusta, South Carolina
Perspective from Interstate 520 east
The only interchange on eastbound Interstate 520 is the junction with U.S. 1 (and U.S. 78-278, which is not signed). Traffic is diverted from the freeway at this point, despite provisions to extend the freeway further north. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Descending from the freeway to the offramp to U.S. 1-78-278, a left turn leads to North Augusta, while a right turn leads to Aiken. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Perspective from U.S. 1 north and U.S. 78-278 east
Although under construction at the time this photo was taken, this guide sign advises motorists on northbound U.S. 1 and eastbound U.S. 78-278 to prepare to turn right onto westbound Interstate 520/Palmetto Parkway en route to Augusta, Georgia. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
An Interstate 520 west trailblazer shield is posted on northbound U.S. 1 and eastbound U.S. 78-278. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Northbound U.S. 1 and eastbound U.S. 78-278 meet Interstate 520 west at this interchange. The overpass will provide for the eventual extension north to South Carolina 125, U.S. 25, and Interstate 20. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Perspective from Interstate 520 west
This is the first reassurance shield on westbound Interstate 520 after the interchange with U.S. 1-78-278. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
The first interchange on westbound Interstate 520 is the Exit 16, Junction Georgia 28 and Sand Bar Ferry Road. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).

Sources:

  1. "Parkway prepares for debut." Augusta Chronicle, June 22, 2004.
  2. Interstate project reduced, delayed, by Betsy Gilliland, Augusta Chronicle, October 25, 2006.
  3. Andrew Armando, I-520 Construction, Personal Emails, August 7, 2007, and August 22, 2007.

Page Updated April 22, 2008.

 
Mileage

State Georgia
Mileage 10.34
Cities Augusta
Junctions Interstate 20
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
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