Interstate 20

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Interstate 20 marker

Interstate 20
Route information
Length:1,539.38 mi[1] (2,477.39 km)
Existed:1957 – present
Major junctions
West end: I-10 near Kent, TX
  I-30 near Fort Worth, TX
I-35W in Fort Worth, TX
I-35E in Dallas, TX
I-45 in Dallas, TX
I-49 in Shreveport, LA
I-55 in Jackson, MS
I-65 in Birmingham, AL
I-75 / I-85 in Atlanta, GA
East end: I-95 / I-20 Bus. near Florence, S.C.
Highway system
 
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Interstate 20 marker

Interstate 20
Route information
Length:1,539.38 mi[1] (2,477.39 km)
Existed:1957 – present
Major junctions
West end: I-10 near Kent, TX
  I-30 near Fort Worth, TX
I-35W in Fort Worth, TX
I-35E in Dallas, TX
I-45 in Dallas, TX
I-49 in Shreveport, LA
I-55 in Jackson, MS
I-65 in Birmingham, AL
I-75 / I-85 in Atlanta, GA
East end: I-95 / I-20 Bus. near Florence, S.C.
Highway system

Interstate 20 (I‑20) is a major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. I‑20 runs 1,535 miles (2,470 km) beginning near Kent, Texas, at Interstate 10 to Florence, South Carolina, at Interstate 95.[2] Between Texas and South Carolina, I‑20 runs through northern Louisiana, central Mississippi, western and north-central Alabama, and north-central Georgia. I‑20 intersects with seven of the 10 primary north–south interstates (all except I‑5, I‑15 and I‑25) and also with the major Interstate routes I‑10, and I‑30.

From its terminus at I‑95, the highway continues about two miles (3 km) eastward into the city of Florence as Business Spur 20.

Route description[edit]

Texas[edit]

I-20 in southern Fort Worth
Lengths
 mi[1]km
TX636.081023.67
LA189.87305.57
MS154.61248.82
AL214.7345.5
GA202.61326.07
SC141.51227.74
Total1539.42477.4

Interstate 20 begins 10 miles (16 km) east of Kent at a fork with Interstate 10. From there, the highway travels east-northeastward through Odessa, Midland, and Abilene before turning eastward towards Dallas/Fort Worth. The La Entrada al Pacifico corridor runs along I-20 between U.S. Route 385 and FM 1788. Between Monahans and I-10, I-20 has an 80 mph (130 km/h) speed limit.

From the highway's opening in the 1960s through 1971, I-20 originally went through the heart of the Metroplex via the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. This old route is now signed Interstate 30 (Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike), U.S. Route 80 (former stretch between I-635 and Terrell) and Texas Spur 557 (bypass around Terrell).

In 1987, I-20 was rerouted to go through the southern sections of Fort Worth, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Dallas, and Mesquite before rejoining its original route at Terrell. Part of I-20 in Dallas is named the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway and used to be signed as I-635.

Interstate 20 continues eastward from Terrell, bypassing Tyler, Marshall, and Longview, before crossing the Louisiana border near Waskom.

Louisiana[edit]

In Louisiana, I-20 roughly parallels U.S. Route 80 through the northern part of the state.

Entering the state from near Waskom, Texas, the highway immediately enters the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area, intersecting Interstate 49 near downtown Shreveport and passing close to Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City.

From that area, the highway traverses mainly rural, hilly terrain, bypassing Minden, Ruston and Grambling before reaching Monroe.

From Monroe, I-20 enters flatter terrain as it approaches the Mississippi River. Before crossing the Mississippi, the highway passes Tallulah. At the Mississippi River, I-20 leaves Louisiana and enters Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Mississippi[edit]

A photo of the state welcome sign westbound.

Upon entering Mississippi by crossing the Mississippi River, I-20 immediately enters Vicksburg. Between Edwards and Clinton, the highway mostly follows the original two-lane routing of U.S. Route 80. In Jackson, I-20 sees a short concurrency with both Interstate 55 and U.S. Route 49. Also in Jackson is an unusually expansive stack interchange, at the junction of I-20, I-55 North and U.S. 49 South. The interchange replaces a former directional interchange at I-55 North and a cloverleaf at Highway 49. From the Stack, I-20 continues eastward to Meridian, where it begins the nearly 160-mile (260 km) overlap with Interstate 59.

The route of the Mississippi section of Interstate 20 is defined in Mississippi Code § 65-3-3.

Alabama[edit]

Interstate 20 (co-signed with Interstate 59) approaching Interstate 65 in downtown Birmingham. This is sometimes referred as Malfunction Junction.

Interstate 20 (along with Interstate 59) crosses the Alabama state line near York, and it stays conjoined as it passes through western Alabama and Tuscaloosa. At Birmingham, the two highways pass through downtown together before splitting at Exit 130 just east of the Birmingham airport. I-20 continues eastward through Oxford/Anniston, Alabama, and the Talladega National Forest, passing by the Talladega Superspeedway in the process, which is visible from the highway.

Also in Birmingham, the intersection of I-20/I-59 and Interstate 65 is known as a Malfunction Junction because of the interchange's somewhat-confusing design, and the number of traffic accidents that occur there.

Georgia[edit]

I-20 eastbound at I-520 interchange, in Augusta, GA

I-20 enters the Peach State near Tallapoosa and after passing through western Georgia, it enters the Atlanta metropolitan area. On clear days, eastbound motorists get their first view of downtown Atlanta as they come over the top of the Six Flags Hill. The Six Flags Over Georgia amusement park is easily visible off exit 47 eastbound. In Atlanta, the highway passes through the heart of the city, crossing Interstate 75 and Interstate 85, which share a common expressway (the "Downtown Connector"). It continues through Metropolitan Atlanta eastward and through the eastern half of Georgia until it exits the state, crossing the Savannah River at Augusta, Ga..

Throughout the state, I-20 is conjoined with unsigned Georgia Highway 402. Also, I-20 from the Alabama state line to Interstate 285 in Atlanta is named the "Tom Murphy Freeway", but it is called the "Ralph David Abernathy Freeway" within I-285. The Interstate Highway is also named the Purple Heart Highway from I-285 in DeKalb County to U.S. 441 in Madison, Georgia; and it is called the Carl Sanders Highway from U.S. 441 to the South Carolina state line.

South Carolina[edit]

Approaching the eastern terminus of I-20 on I-95, Florence, SC

Upon leaving Augusta, Interstate 20 crosses the Savannah River and enters the Palmetto State and heads northeastward, bypassing Aiken and Lexington before reaching the state capital of Columbia, which can be reached most directly by taking I-26 east at Exit 64 ("Malfunction Junction"), then, almost immediately, I-126/U.S. Route 76.

At Columbia, Interstate 20 bypasses the city to the north and again turns northeastward, bypassing Fort Jackson and Camden. After crossing the Wateree River, it turns due east, passes by tiny Bishopville, before reaching the Florence area. It is near Florence where I-20 sees its eastern terminus at Interstate 95. However, for about two miles (3 km), the highway continues into Florence as Business Spur 20.

I-20 in the Palmetto State is known as either the J. Strom Thurmond Freeway or John C. West Freeway. The first section to be completed was the bridge over the Savannah River in 1965; the last, the section between U.S. Route 401 and I-95 (including the business spur), opened in August 1975.

Future[edit]

Future plate blue.svg
I-20.svg

In 2003, the North Carolina Department of Transportation proposed extending I-20 eastward from Florence to Wilmington at the behest of North Carolina Governor Mike Easley and his 'Strategic Transportation Plan' for the southeast portion of the state.[3][4] The proposed route would follow U.S. 76 east from Florence to Whiteville, North Carolina, then parallel U.S. 74/U.S. 76 into Wilmington.[5] Part of this route is already designated the future eastern extension of Interstate 74. As part of the 2005 SAFETEA-LU transportation legislation, North Carolina received $5 million for a feasibility study for this extension.[3] While this extension has considerable support among towns in southeastern North Carolina, the South Carolina DOT has stated that they have no interest in upgrading their portion of U.S. 76 to an interstate. This is likely due, in no small part, to encourage eastbound vacationers to travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina rather than Wilmington and that they are concentrating their efforts on plans to build Interstate 73 that will terminate near Myrtle Beach. This proposed extension has not been approved by the Federal Highway Administration or the AASHTO, so any construction remains far in the future, but NCDOT maintains the routing in its Strategic Highway Corridors maps.[6]

Major intersections[edit]

Auxiliary routes[edit]

Two Interstate 420s were planned, but never completed or built. One was to be a bypass around Monroe, Louisiana, but was never built. The other I-420 was planned as a bypass to the south of downtown Atlanta. Due to anti-freeway sentiments, this I-420 was never completed, and the already-built portion has been signed as GA 154/GA 166, named Langford Parkway (formerly the Lakewood Freeway).

See also[edit]


References[edit]

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing