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U.S. Route 17 or U.S. Highway 17 (US 17), also known as the Coastal Highway, is a north–south United States Highway. The highway spans the southeastern United States and is close to the Atlantic Coast for much of its length. The highway's southern terminus is at Punta Gorda, Florida, at an intersection with US 41. Traveling north, US 17 joins up with US 50 in Paris, Virginia, and the northern terminus of US 17 is in downtown Winchester, Virginia. This is also the point at which the portion of US 50 called the Northwestern Turnpike begins.

U.S. Route 17 marker

U.S. Route 17
Route information
Length1,206.47 mi[citation needed] (1,941.63 km)
Existed1926[citation needed]–present
Major junctions
South end US 41 in Punta Gorda, FL
 
North end US 11 / US 50 / US 522 in Winchester, VA
Location
StatesFlorida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia
Highway system

Though US 1 is generally considered to be the highway that runs alongside Interstate 95 (I-95), US 17 runs parallel to I-95 for much of its extent, and even shares the same physical road for short spans in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Ridgeland, South Carolina. As such, US 17 is out of sequence in the U.S. Highway numbering plan (US 17 would, under the plan, run parallel to and between US 15 and US 19; the U.S. Highway following that path is instead marked US 219).

Route descriptionEdit

Lengths
  mi km
FL 294 473
GA 143 230
SC 221 356
NC 284 457
VA 255.09 410.53
Total 1189 1,914

FloridaEdit

US 17 begins in downtown Punta Gorda, Florida, at US 41 (Cross Street), just to the west of Tamiami Trail. After running east, it runs roughly north along the Peace River, through Arcadia, Zolfo Springs (where it crosses the Peace River), and Wauchula. At Fort Meade, it joins with US 98, which follows it northward (westward on US 98) until Bartow. While US 98 goes northwest, US 17 goes northeast.

US 17 begins a long concurrency with US 92 just north of Winter Haven in Lake Alfred (US 92 following eastbound), which takes both highways through Kissimmee, where they join US 192. Like US 92, US 17 roughly parallels Interstate 4 along the overlap. When all three meet US 441, US 192 follows US 441 southbound, while US 17/92 follows US 441 north into downtown Orlando. US 17/92 then splits from US 441 at SR 50 (Colonial Drive) and jogs east, splitting back north from SR 50 when it meets SR 15 (Mills Avenue).

 
A US 17 highway sign in McIntosh County, Georgia, USA

In Seminole County, the redevelopment of the 17–92 Community Redevelopment Area is handled by the US 17–92 Community Redevelopment Agency, a component unit of the County government. In Sanford, Florida, US 17/92 crosses the St. Johns River into Volusia County via the Bill Benedict Bridge.

US 92 then splits away from US 17 north of DeLand, with US 92 continuing east to Daytona Beach as International Speedway Boulevard, while US 17 continues north toward Palatka, where it again crosses the St. Johns River.

In Clay County, US 17 runs through suburban Jacksonville. The northern stretch of US 17 in Clay County is known as Park Avenue.

In Jacksonville, the southern portion of US 17 is known as Roosevelt Boulevard. Here, the highway goes past Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax). Near downtown Jacksonville, US 17 joins Interstate 10 for approximately one mile, before merging into Interstate 95. US 17 then exits onto Union Street and continues as North Main Street until the Nassau County border. It then continues until it reaches the Georgia border, crossing over the St. Marys River.

GeorgiaEdit

 
A canopy of oak trees over a section of US 17 in McIntosh County, Georgia

In Woodbine, US 17 crosses the Satilla River by way of the J. Edwin Godley Bridge. In Brunswick, the route traverses the South Brunswick River over the Sidney Lanier Bridge, then across the Altamaha River bridge between Glynn County and McIntosh County. At the South Carolina state line, US 17 crosses the Savannah River on the Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

The section of US 17 known as the "Gateway to Historic Brunswick and The Golden Isles" was included in The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation's 2006 list of Places in Peril.[1]

South CarolinaEdit

US 17 enters South Carolina in Jasper County as a two-lane road and within 8 miles (13 km) enters Hardeeville, where it becomes a four-lane configuration. US 17 intersects Interstate 95 in Hardeeville and runs parallel to Interstate 95 until Ridgeland, where it merges with the interstate until Point South. At Point South, US 17 leaves Interstate 95 and heads eastward into northern Beaufort County, sharing a concurrency with U.S. 21 until Gardens Corner. US 21 splits off to Beaufort while US 17 heads northeast into the ACE Basin and Colleton County. This stretch of road has been upgraded from a two-lane to a four-lane configuration, due to safety concerns.

Once in Jacksonboro, the road enters Charleston County, crossing the Edisto River and maintains a four-lane configuration for the remainder of the state. The road passes through several rural communities as it approaches Charleston from the west. In Charleston, the 3.6-mile (5.8 km) section running from S.C. Highway 171 to Sam Rittenberg Boulevard has been named the "Charleston Nine Memorial Highway", in honor of nine Charleston firefighters killed in the line of duty in the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire on June 18, 2007.[2] US 17 passes through the West Ashley community before it traverses the Ashley River Drawbridges to the Charleston Peninsula. From the drawbridges, it is known as the Septima Clark Crosstown Connector and is mostly routed north of the affluent historical areas of the city. Upon reaching the Interstate 26 terminus, US 17 becomes limited-access and above grade as it approaches the Cooper River via the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The stretch of US 17 in Charleston is infamous among locals for its traffic congestion, especially on weekday mornings.

Upon crossing the river, the highway enters Mount Pleasant at grade and is signalized for several miles up through the second interchange with Interstate 526 and connecting roads to the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island. The road leaves the Charleston metro area by entering the Francis Marion National Forest[3] and going through the rural communities of Awendaw and McClellanville, where Hurricane Hugo made landfall in September 1989.[4] US 17 continues on its northeastern journey to Georgetown and crosses the marsh-lined Santee River as it enters Georgetown County. US 17's route through Georgetown is a major thoroughfare through the city and skirts the historic district. the City of Georgetown has made several upgrades since 2005 to address growing drainage concerns. After going through Georgetown and passing by DeBordieu, Pawleys Island, and Litchfield Beach, Murrells Inlet US 17 enters Horry County, passes Garden City Beach, Surfside Beach, and arrives in Myrtle Beach, where it splits between a business route and the standard route, which remains west of the beach and tourist areas served by Business 17. The roads rejoin north of the city and continue as US 17 through Atlantic Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Little River before crossing into North Carolina.

North CarolinaEdit

 
Historical Marker on U.S. Route 17

In Wilmington, North Carolina, US 17 (here concurrent with Interstate 140) crosses the Northeast Cape Fear River between New Hanover County and Brunswick County over the Dan Cameron Bridge. Between New Bern and James City, US 17 (concurrent with US 70 and NC 55) crosses the Trent River by way of the Freedom Memorial Bridge. Farther east, between James City and Bridgeton, US 17, still concurrent with NC 55, crosses the Neuse River over the Neuse River Bridge.

In Washington, US 17 crosses the Pamlico River over the Pamlico-Tar River Bridge. Farther along, in Williamston, US 17 (concurrent with US 13) crosses the Roanoke River, then the Cashie River at Windsor. At the Bertie County-Chowan County line, US 17 traverses the Chowan River on the Chowan River Bridge, one of the longest bridges along US 17's route. In Perquimans County, US 17 (here concurrent with NC 37) crosses the Yeopim River and the Perquimans River at Hertford. Crossing into Pasquotank County over the Little River, US 17 enters Elizabeth City and begins a short concurrency with US 158. At Morgan's Corner, the US 158 concurrency ends, and US 17 crosses the Pasquotank River into Camden County before heading north into Virginia.

VirginiaEdit

US 17 enters Virginia into the city of Chesapeake, Virginia, running along the border of the Great Dismal Swamp. It runs through more of Chesapeake and the city of Portsmouth, before it crosses the James River between Newport News and Isle of Wight County on the James River Bridge, a drawbridge which was formerly a toll bridge but is now toll-free, concurrent with U.S. Route 258. The route also crosses the York River between Gloucester County and York County at Yorktown on the George P. Coleman Bridge, a swing bridge which is also a (north-bound only) toll bridge. Finally, US 17 traverses the Rappahannock River between Stafford County and Spotsylvania County at Fredericksburg as it overlaps Interstate 95. Then it traverses the Blue Ridge Mountains and crosses the towns of Warrenton and Marshall to end up at a junction with US Route 11 (see US Route 11 in Virginia) and US Route 522 in Winchester

HistoryEdit

FloridaEdit

 
A US 17 shield used in Florida prior to 1993

From 1956 until 1993, US 17 signs in Florida featured black numbering on a yellow shield. The "color-coding" of U.S. Routes by the Florida Department of Transportation was stopped when the state could only use federal funding for stock black-and-white; a few yellow US 17 signs remain.[citation needed]

South CarolinaEdit

US 17 has had slight variations over its history in South Carolina. US 17 once traversed the Cooper River on the Grace & Pearman Memorial Bridges before the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge replaced both in 2005.[5] US 17 also ran through downtown Myrtle Beach before the new bypass route was finished in order to alleviate heavy traffic. US 17 Alternate was commissioned as a route between Point South and Georgetown, mostly for trucks who wished to bypass Charleston and the weight restrictions of the former bridges.

Hurricane Charley HighwayEdit

On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley made landfall near the southern terminus of US 17 at Tampa Bay.[6] The hurricane threatened to hit much of the highway,[7] affecting the route in Florida from Punta Gorda to north of Orlando (when Charley followed the route of Interstate 4 out to sea). The Georgia stretch of US 17 was not hit, but was under a hurricane warning. When Charley made landfall again in South Carolina, its trail through Virginia was close to US 17.[citation needed]

Major intersectionsEdit

Florida
  US 41 in Punta Gorda.
  I-75 on the SolanaCleveland city line
  US 98 in Fort Meade. The highways travel concurrently to Bartow.
  US 92 in Lake Alfred. The highways travel concurrently to DeLand.
  US 27 in Haines City
  US 192 in Kissimmee. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
   US 192 / US 441 in Kissimmee. US 17/US 441 travel concurrently to Orlando.
  I-4 in Orlando
  I-4 in Orlando
  I-4 northwest of Sanford
  I-295 in Jacksonville
  I-10 in Jacksonville. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
  I-95 in Jacksonville. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
   I-95 / US 23 in Jacksonville. US 17/US 23 travel concurrently through the city.
   US 1 / US 23 in Jacksonville. US 1/US 17 travel concurrently through the city.
  I-295 in Jacksonville
  I-95 in Gross
Georgia
  US 82 west of Brunswick. The highways travel concurrently for approximately 0.72 miles (1.16 km).
   I-95 / US 82 west of Brunswick
  US 341 in Brunswick
  US 25 in Brunswick
  I-95 south-southeast of Riceboro
  US 84 in Midway
  I-95 in Richmond Hill
   I-516 / US 80 in Savannah. The highways travel concurrently through the city.
    I-16 / I-516 / US 80 in Savannah. I-16/US 17 travel concurrently through the city.
South Carolina
  I-95 in Hardeeville
  US 321 in Hardeeville
  US 278 in Hardeeville. The highways travel concurrently to Ridgeland.
  I-95 in Ridgeland. The highways travel concurrently to Point South.
  US 21 northeast of Pocotaligo. The highways travel concurrently to Gardens Corner.
  I-526 in Charleston
  I-26 in Charleston. The highways travel concurrently, on separate lanes, through the city.
   US 52 / US 78 in Charleston
  I-526 in Mount Pleasant
  US 521 in Georgetown
  US 701 in Georgetown
  US 501 in Myrtle Beach
North Carolina
  I-140 southwest of Leland
   US 74 / US 76 in Leland. US 17/US 74 travel concurrently to west of Wilmington. US 17/US 76 travel concurrently to west of Wrightsville Beach.
   US 74 / US 421 west of Wilmington. US 17/US 421 travel concurrently to downtown Wilmington.
  US 421 in Wilmington
  US 117 in Wilmington
   US 74 / US 76 in Wilmington west of Wrightsville Beach
  NC 140 in Kirkland
  US 70 west of New Bern. The highways travel concurrently to the New Bern–James City city line.
  US 264 in Washington
   US 13 / US 64 south-southwest of Williamston. US 13/US 17 travel concurrently to Windsor. US 17/US 64 travel concurrently to south of Williamston.
  US 158 in Elizabeth City. The highways travel concurrently to southeast of Morgans Corner.
Virginia
   I-64 / I-464 in Chesapeake. I-64/US 17 travel concurrently through the city.
   US 13 / US 460 in Chesapeake
  I-264 in Portsmouth
  US 58 in Portsmouth
  I-664 in Suffolk
  US 258 in Bartlett. The highways travel concurrently to Newport News.
  US 60 in Newport News
  I-64 in Newport News
  US 360 in Brays Fork. The highways travel concurrently to Tappahannock.
  US 301 in Port Royal Cross Roads
  US 1 south of Fredericksburg. The highways travel concurrently for approximately 1.18 miles (1.90 km).
  I-95 south of Fredericksburg. I-95/US 17 travel concurrently to northwest of Falmouth.
   US 15 / US 29 in Opal. The highways travel concurrently to Warrenton.
  I-66 southeast of Marshall. The highways travel concurrently for approximately 4.69 miles (7.55 km).
  US 50 southeast of Paris. The highways travel concurrently to Winchester.
  US 340 in Waterloo
   I-81 / US 522 southeast of Winchester. US 17/US 522 travel concurrently to Winchester.
  US 11 in Winchester. The highways travel concurrently through the city.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Places in Peril Archives – Savannah Getaways". Savannah Getaways.
  2. ^ Smith, Glenn (March 25, 2008). "U.S. 17 stretch to honor firefighters who died in sofa store blaze". The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008.
  3. ^ "Swamp Fox Passage/Palmetto Trail". US Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Glover, Kerri (September 20, 2009). "'Ground Zero'". The Post and Courier. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Campos, Erik. "The Ravenel Bridge: An architectural marvel". thestate.
  6. ^ "Hurricane Charley destroyed Punta Gorda and kept Tampa Bay on edge". Tampa Bay Times. August 11, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "GUNTER: That time we fled Hurricane Charley | Toronto Sun". September 15, 2018.

External linksEdit

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