The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved the numbering of Interstate 526 initially on June 29, 1978 from I-26 southeast to U.S. 17/701 in Mount Pleasant. The first section of I-526, the Mark Clark Expressway between U.S. 17 and S.C. 642 (Dorchester Road), was designated as S.C. 31. The freeway through west Charleston was named in 1976 after General Mark Clark, a World War II hero and former president of The Citadel, Charleston’s military college.5
The western extension of I-526, from North Charleston to S.C. 7 was approved by AASHTO on October 6, 1989. The route was signed shortly thereafter, starting with the section that was previously signed as S.C. 31 from U.S. 17 northeast to I-26. Dedicated on June 20, 1992,2 Interstate 526 was extended southeast to rejoin U.S. 17 north of Charleston with the completion of the Don N. Holt Bridge over the Cooper River. The freeway directly transitions onto Business Spur I-526 in Mt. Pleasant, which was also signed in 1992.
S.C. 31 was reused with the December 17, 2002 opening of the Carolina Bays Parkway between U.S. 501 and S.C. 9 to the north of the Grand Strand. Included in the future I-74 corridor from southeastern North Carolina, Carolina Bays Parkway was extended west to S.C. 544 on December 15, 2004.
The east end of I-526 was improved with a new single point interchange connecting the freeway with U.S. 17 at Hungryneck Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. Costing $26.7 million, the exchange was completed in January 2013.6 Associated work reconfigured the original parclo interchange joining I-526 and Business Spur I-526 (Chuck Dawley Boulevard) with U.S. 17 to the west to eliminate signalized turns. Motorists are instead directed to the new ramps at Hungryneck Boulevard to the east, or the grade separated intersection further west along U.S. 17 at Bowman Road.