U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 (US 23) is a long north–south
U.S. Highway between
Jacksonville, Florida, and Mackinaw City, Michigan. It is an original
1926 route which originally reached only as far south as Portsmouth,
Ohio, and has since been extended.
It was formerly part of the major highway known as the Dixie Highway.
1 Route description
1.3 North Carolina
3 Major intersections
4 See also
6 External links
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Florida
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 begins at
U.S. Route 1
U.S. Route 1 (Ocean Street) at the northern
end of downtown Jacksonville, starting as a one way pair, with the
northbound lanes meeting with
Florida State College. It is also
unsigned State Road 139 from its southern terminus to its interchange
with US 1 in northwestern Jacksonville (SR 139 continues east along SR
10A from the end of US 23 to SR 115). West of I-95, US 23 ends the one
way pair, continuing as Kings Road through northwestern Jacksonville,
as an off grid road. A few miles to the west, US 23 meets with US 1/SR
15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway), becoming concurrent with the
highway through the rest of its journey through Florida. The road
continues northwest, intersecting with Interstate 295 and eventually
makes its way out of Jacksonville. At Callahan, US 1/US 23 meets with
U.S. Route 301, beginning a three way concurrency as the road
continues northward towards the St. Mary's River, leaving
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Georgia
This section is in a list format that may be better presented using
prose. You can help by converting this section to prose, if
appropriate. Editing help is available. (July 2009)
In Georgia, US 23 enters from
Florida concurrent with US 1 and US 301
just south of Folkston. Within Folkston itself, US 301 branches off
and Route 23 continues northwest with US 1 as a divided four lane
Waycross, Georgia where it intersects US 82. US 23 splits from
US 1 seven miles north of Alma and continues to Hazelhurst as a
Hazlehurst it intersects with US 221 and begins US 341 concurrently (a
divided four-lane highway Designated the Golden Isles Parkway)
McRae intersects with US 280, US 319 and US 441
Eastman leaves US 341 currently Designated "Golden Isles Highway' to
junction with I-16 near Macon.
Cochran begins US 129-ALT concurrently. US 23 is two lanes from
Eastman to the community of Empire, then five lanes with a center
turning lane to the Cochran by-pass which is two lanes. North of
Cochran it is undivided four lanes for 13 miles to the junction with
GA 96 in Tarversville, then two lanes for the next 24 miles to the
junction with I-16 near Macon.
Macon intersects with
Interstate 16 near old Camp Wheeler North of
I-16 known as Ocmulgee East Blvd, turns left as Emery
turns left again as Spring Street then crosses
I-75 and Ocmulgee
River, then right as Riverside Drive. It then parallels the Ocmulgee
River and I-75, US 41, US 80 and leaves US 129-ALT. Then crosses I-75
again and continues to Jackson, Georgia.
Henry County Continues north through Henry Co. concurrent with GA 42
Enter Clayton County and metro
Atlanta as Moreland Ave, Concurrent
with GA 42, then turns right on Ponce de Leon Ave, splits from GA 42,
(concurrency with US 29, US 78 and US 278) then left on Clairemont Ave
(transitions to Clairmont Road) and turns right onto and leaves metro
Atlanta as Buford Highway
Buford turns right onto GA 20, then left on I-985, GA 365.
Gainesville Intersects with US 129. At I-985 end, then continues
concurrently with GA 365 north. Signage was missing from Buford
Highway north (at turn onto GA 20), but returned at the controlled
access end of I-985, continuing north on GA 365.
Cornelia intersects with
US 123 and begins US 441 concurrently
Clayton intersects with US 76
North Carolina Then crosses the state line
Though US 23 roughly parallels
Interstate 75 from Macon to Atlanta,
and the two routes come within a few miles in Atlanta, US 23 only
I-75 at the Riverside Drive exit in Macon, Georgia. It
crosses back over 75 a few miles south. This is the only place that 23
runs west of 75 until many miles to the north, in Perrysburg, Ohio
Along the city limit and then fully within the city of Atlanta, it is
known as Moreland Avenue (concurrent with Georgia 42), running for
several miles in a perfectly straight and due north/south line, which
is also the Fulton/DeKalb county line.
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in North Carolina
The highway runs concurrent with US 441 between the Georgia state line
and Dillsboro, then with US 74 through Waynesville as the Great Smoky
Mountains Expressway, followed by US 19 through Canton and
Enka-Candler. West of Asheville, the highway follows I-26 to the
Tennessee state line.
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Tennessee
US 23 runs concurrently with the newly upgraded I-26 from the North
Carolina state line past Johnson City and Kingsport. Just west of
Kingsport, I-26 stops at the junction with U.S. Route 11W, and US 23
continues to run north to the
Virginia State Line.
Pound Gap, where the highway crosses from
Virginia to Kentucky
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Virginia
US 23 extends for 61 miles (98 km) through extreme Southwest
Virginia with the southern point beginning at Weber City and the
northern point ending at Pound. It runs concurrent with US 58 and US
421 from Gate City to Duffield. It crosses the
Clinch River near
Clinchport. From Duffield to Big Stone Gap, it passes through the
Jefferson National Forest. The entire route is a four-lane divided
highway. The stretch of highway is known as The Crooked Road:
Virginia's Heritage Music Trail and is a symbol of the highway's
importance to country music.
US 23 passes through the following cities and counties in
well: Gate City in Scott County, Norton (an independent city), Big
Stone Gap in Wise County and Pound, also located in Wise County.
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Kentucky
US 23 in Pike County south of Pikeville
US 23 is known as the "Country Music Highway" as it enters
Virginia after crossing
Pound Gap near Whitesburg.
Loretta Lynn, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Ray Cyrus, Patty Loveless, Crystal
Gayle, Chris Stapleton, and more are all noted along US 23's path
through Kentucky. US 23 combines with US 119 near
Pikeville and continues northward. Just south of Pikeville, it joins
US 460 and
Kentucky Route 80 (KY 80). It then passes through the
Pikeville Cut-Through and US 119 diverges from the route near
Coal Run Village. KY 80 splits to the south from US 23 near
Prestonsburg, and US 460 splits to the west in Paintsville.
US 23 then passes through the outer edge of Louisa and intersects
I-64 in Catlettsburg. The highway also begins to run concurrently with
US 60 from Catlettsburg to Ashland.
In Ashland, US 23 follows Winchester Avenue and then Greenup
Avenue through downtown. Winchester Avenue continues north from 33rd
Street as US 23 Business until rejoining US 23 at 6th
Street. From here US 23 passes the Ashland Town Center Mall and
the Melody Mountain shopping district before exiting the city limits.
Continuing north near Bellefonte, the highway passes AK Steel's
Ashland Works then enters Greenup County. It passes several shopping
centers and downtown Russell and then enters Raceland along the
southern banks of the
Ohio River. At South Portsmouth, the highway
Ohio River and enters
Ohio at Portsmouth.
Since 1999, the entire
Kentucky portion is a four-lane divided
highway; in some of the larger cities, there are additional traffic
lanes are present in both directions. In northeastern Kentucky, from
the I-64 junction north into Ohio, some sections are four-lanes
undivided, with a double yellow line instead of a median. These are
the oldest four-lane sections of US 23 in
Kentucky which were
upgraded in 1950s and 1960s before divided highways became the design
standard. They can be found on US 23 in the cities of
Catlettsburg, Ashland, and Russell.
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Ohio
The majority of US 23 in
Ohio is a divided expressway, with the
exception of downtown Columbus and the portion of the route between
US 20 east of Perrysburg.
US 23 near Marion
US 23 crosses the
Ohio River from
Kentucky and enters Portsmouth.
US 23 goes through the towns of Lucasville, Piketon, Waverly,
Chillicothe, and Circleville, before reaching Columbus.
US 23 mostly follows High Street in Columbus, which was the original
route. However, it now bypasses the central business district and
northern Columbus neighborhoods by following the one-way pair 4th
Street (northbound) and 3rd/Summit Street (southbound) between the
downtown area and Hudson Street, and Indianola Avenue north before
returning to its original course on High Street at Morse Road.
US 23 follows High Street northbound from Columbus, going through
Worthington, passing the village of Lewis Center, entering Delaware at
the Cheshire Road intersection.
After US 23 intersects the northern terminus of State Route 315
(SR 315) and passes a retail district, it becomes a limited
access freeway, bypassing downtown Delaware, before resuming as a
expressway with at-grade crossings north of the city.
At Waldo, US 23 again becomes a freeway. It continues as a freeway
throughout most of Marion County, then resumes at-grade crossings with
a mix of some freeway-style junctions which are otherwise signalized
after the Morral interchange.
US 23 coincides with divided SR 15, until it takes a different
route at the Carey exit. SR 15 continues on to Findlay, and is
designed to allow most traffic to bypass the northern stretch of US 23
by offering a fast connection to Interstate 75.
US 23 continues north through Carey, Fostoria, and Risingsun.
West of Woodville, US 23 intersects with US 20, where it has an
overlap for several miles.
US 23 then joins
I-75 near Perrysburg, then follows I-475 around the
west side of Toledo, passing through Sylvania before entering
Michigan. In the portion where
I-75 and US 23 overlap, this is a
wrong-way concurrency, with southbound
I-75 concurrent with northbound
US 23, and northbound
I-75 concurrent with southbound US 23 in this
US 23 passes near the birthplace of U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes
in Delaware, as well as near the home of U.S. President Warren G.
Harding in Marion.
U.S. Route 23
U.S. Route 23 in Michigan
US 23 is a freeway bypass for
Interstate 75 west of Detroit, and then
the Sunrise Side Coastal
Highway along the shore of
Lake Huron to its
end at Mackinaw City.
US 23 junctions with I-69 while co-routed with
I-75 in Flint,
US 23 junctions with
I-75 south of Flint,
Michigan and breaks off from
I-75 south of Standish, becoming a two-lane road. US 23 then goes
Lake Huron and ends at an intersection with
of Downtown Mackinaw City.
US 23 junctions with I-96 north of Brighton, Michigan.
US 23 junctions with US 12 (formerly M-23) south of Ann Arbor.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2010)
(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Originally known as the Columbus–Sandusky Turnpike, the road was
laid out about 1820. Within four years it was noted as having frequent
use, although it was in poor condition. As a result, on February 10,
James Kilbourne of the
Ohio House of Representatives introduced
a petition to revise and correct the state road leading from Columbus
and Worthington to Delaware, Norton and further north. Kilbourne
believed that the
Sandusky Bay was the perfect place for a harbor to
open up the
Ohio marketplace to New England. He fought relentlessly to
establish roads from the capital to Sandusky. He laid out a southern
extension of the road to tie Portsmouth on the
Ohio River to the
central and northern parts of the state. As a result of Kilbourne's
efforts, the State of
Ohio chartered the Columbus and Sandusky
Turnpike Company on January 31, 1826. The following year the federal
government gave 31,840 acres (128.9 km2) in trust to the state of
Ohio for the turnpike company to finance road improvements and
An 1820 map of
Ohio shows the turnpike leading from Columbus to
Worthington, through Delaware into Marion County. The southern portion
of the improved road was built and in use by 1828. The
Columbus-Sandusky Turnpike, also sometimes known as Kilbourne Highway,
was completed to Sandusky in 1834. Although the Turnpike was much
needed and well traveled, the Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company
did not have the funds to maintain the road. Early maps show the route
as "Mud Pike." Angry at the poor, muddy condition of the road,
particularly in the rainiest seasons, travelers occasionally destroyed
tollgates. The Columbus and Sandusky Turnpike Company was disbanded
February 28, 1843 when the
Ohio legislature repealed the act that
incorporated it. Two years later an act was passed that established
the road as a public highway.
US 23 was established in 1926 as part of the original U.S. highway
system. The original route began at US 52 in Portsmouth, Ohio, and
followed the old turnpike north to Sandusky, where it continued north
to end at US 31 in Mackinaw City, Michigan.
In 1929, US 23 was extended from Portsmouth,
Ohio into Kentucky,
ending at Pikeville. The following highways form the original route of
U.S. Highway 23 Business through Pikeville
Kentucky Route 1428, Allen to Prestonsburg
Kentucky Route 321, Prestonsburg to north of Paintsville
Kentucky Route 2565 into Louisa from the south
Kentucky Route 3, Louisa to south of Catlettsburg
Kentucky Route 3294, Catlettsburg
The southern terminus remained in Pikeville for only two years. In
1930, US 23 was extended to Atlanta.
US 23 was extended into
U.S. Route 1
U.S. Route 1 in 1951. When the
20th Street Expressway was built around downtown Jacksonville, U.S.
Route 1 was moved but US 23 remained. It has never changed its route
in Florida, though at one time it was planned to extend south, maybe
to Fort Myers via US 17, SR 19, SR 33, US 98, US 17, and SR 31.
In the mid to late 20th century when the coal industry declined in the
Appalachian Mountains, US 23 was often dubbed the Hillbilly
Highway, and it was said the three "R's" of the region were
"reading, writing and Route 23", as workers migrated to northern
industrial cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, or Chicago.
Dwight Yoakam song "Readin', Rightin', RT.23" and the Steve Earle
song "Hillbilly Highway" in particular reflect this heritage.
In 1985, US 23 was upgraded to interstate standards on the initiative
of Eddie Williams, chief executive officer of economic development for
Johnson City, Jonesborough and Washington County, Tenn. "The original
idea for that project happened in 1985, when two young men [later
named as Don Kiel and Alan Bridwell] walked into my office with a plan
Highway 23 to interstate standards," Williams said. "And
all it cost us was to change the signs." Later that year, a section of
US 23 near Johnson City was designated as I-181, the first section of
US 23 to be designated as an interstate in either
Tennessee or North
Carolina. Williams claims that this project was a catalyst for the
five-state I-26 extension project.
The U.S. 23 Country Music
Highway Museum in Paintsville is dedicated
to the country musicians who grew up near US 23
On March 1, 1994, a bill sponsored by State Representative Hubert
Collins was passed by the
Kentucky State Legislature. This bill
allowed US 23 to become known as "The Country Music Highway" in order
to recognize all the country music stars that had come from the
counties the highway passed through. At every county line there is
a sign that lists the country music star or stars from that county.
Also, in the early 2000s, the U.S. 23 Country Music
opened in Paintsville to further commemorate these legendary people.
Law enforcement officials from
Kentucky set up the "US Route
23 Drug Taskforce" in 1996 to patrol the highway for drug trafficking,
attempting to halt a major artery of drug networks bringing
high-quality cannabis grown in
Kentucky north for distribution in Ohio
and elsewhere. Lately, it has been primarily used to stop the flow of
narcotics from large cities like Columbus, OH, Dayton, OH, and
Cleveland, OH into Portsmouth, OH, all of which have to pass through
US 23 to reach Portsmouth. Signs can be spotted along Route 23 in Ohio
from Portsmouth to Columbus warning traffickers that efforts have been
taken to prevent their actions. Some random police stings have been
set up at portions of the highway.
During the past few years the highway has been widened to four or more
lanes through its entire length within
Kentucky and is one of the more
scenic routes in Kentucky. It is six lanes in parts of the city of
Pikeville. In 2002, it was officially named a National Scenic Byway.
US 23 also gains attention during college football season as it holds
a direct connection between
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan (home of the
University of Michigan) and
Columbus, Ohio (site of The
University) and the Michigan–
Ohio State football rivalry. Each year
at the end of November a convoy of fans travels either north or south
depending on where that year's game is being held. Unsubstantiated
rumors that the host state of that year's game has their state police
Michigan State Police or
Highway Patrol) force
an increase enforcement of traffic laws along the route in their
respective states to cite opposing fans adds to the rivalry.
US 1 / US 17 in Jacksonville. US 17/US 23 travel
concurrently through the city.
I‑95 / US 17 in Jacksonville
US 1 in Jacksonville. The highways travel concurrently to north
of Alma, Georgia.
I‑295 in Jacksonville
US 301 in Callahan. The highways travel concurrently to
US 82 in Waycross. The highways travel concurrently to west of
US 84 in Waycross. The highways travel concurrently through the
US 341 in Hazlehurst. The highways travel concurrently to
US 221 in Hazlehurst. The highways travel concurrently through
US 280 / US 319 / US 441 in McRae
I‑16 in Smithsonia
US 80 east of Macon. The highways travel concurrently to Macon.
US 129 in Macon. The highways travel concurrently through the
I‑16 in Macon
I‑75 in Macon
I‑75 in Macon
I‑75 northwest of Macon
I‑675 south-southwest of Rex
I‑285 north of Conley
I‑20 on the East Atlanta–Edgewood neighborhood line
US 29 / US 78 / US 278 on the Poncey-Highland–Atkins
Park neighborhood line. US 23/US 29/US 78 travel
concurrently to Decatur. US 23/US 278 travel concurrently to
I‑85 on the North Druid Hills–Brookhaven city line
I‑285 in Doraville
I‑985 in Buford. The highways travel concurrently to Gainesville.
US 129 in Gainesville. The highways travel concurrently through
US 441 northwest of Cornelia. The highways travel concurrently
to north-northwest of Dillsboro, North Carolina.
US 123 east-southeast of Clarkesville
US 76 in Clayton. The highways travel concurrently through the
US 64 in Franklin. The highways travel concurrently around the
southeastern edge of the city.
US 74 / US 441 north-northwest of Dillsboro.
US 23/US 74 travel concurrently to west of Clyde.
US 276 in Waynesville
US 19 in Lake Junaluska. The highways travel concurrently to
northeast of Mars Hill.
I‑40 / US 74 in Asheville
Future I‑26 / I‑240 in Asheville. I-26/US 23 travel
concurrently to northeast of Mars Hill. I-240 travel concurrently
through the city.
I‑240 / US 70 in Asheville. US 23/US 70 travel
concurrently to Weaverville.
US 25 in Woodfin. The highways travel concurrently to
US 19W northeast of Ernestville. The highways travel
concurrently to Johnson City.
US 321 in Johnson City
US 11E / US 19W in Johnson City.
I‑81 in Kingsport
US 11W in Kingsport
US 58 / US 421 in Weber City. The highways travel
concurrently to Duffield.
US 119 southeast of Jenkins. The highways travel concurrently to
US 460 in Pikeville. The highways travel concurrently to
I‑64 south-southwest of Catlettsburg
US 60 in Catlettsburg. The highways travel concurrently to
US 52 in Portsmouth
US 50 in Scioto Township
US 35 / US 50 in Scioto Township. The highways travel
concurrently through the township.
US 22 in Circleville
I‑270 in Hamilton Township
US 33 in Columbus. The highways travel concurrently through the
US 62 in Columbus. The highways travel concurrently through the
US 40 / US 62 in Columbus
I‑670 in Columbus
I‑270 in Columbus
US 42 in Delaware. The highways travel concurrently through the
US 36 / US 42 in Delaware
US 30 in Crane Township. The highways travel concurrently to
US 224 in Loudon Township.
US 6 on the Montgomery–Scott–Freedom–Madison township line
US 20 on the Troy–Woodville township line. The highways travel
concurrently to Perrysburg.
I‑75 / US 20 in Perrysburg. I-75/US 23 travel
concurrently through the city.
I‑475 in Perrysburg. The highways travel concurrently to Sylvania
US 24 in Maumee
US 20 in Sylvania Township
US 223 in Sylvania. The highways travel concurrently to
Whiteford Township, Michigan.
US 12 in Pittsfield Charter Township
I‑94 in Ann Arbor
I‑96 in Brighton
I‑75 in Mundy Township. The highways travel concurrently to Lincoln
I‑69 in Flint Township
I‑475 in Mount Morris Township
I‑675 in Buena Vista Charter Township
I‑675 in Zilwaukee Township
US 10 in Monitor Township
I‑75 in Mackinaw City
U.S. Roads portal
U.S. Route 123
U.S. Route 223
Special routes of U.S. Route 23
Bureau of Public Roads
Bureau of Public Roads & American Association of State Highway
Officials (November 11, 1926). United States System of Highways
Adopted for Uniform Marking by the American Association of State
Highway Officials (Map). 1:7,000,000. Washington, DC: U.S. Geological
Survey. OCLC 32889555. Retrieved November 7, 2013 – via
University of North Texas Libraries.
^ a b
DeLorme (2007). Street Atlas USA 2007 (Map). DeLorme.
^ "Technical Services Straight Line Diagrams".
Ohio Department of
Transportation. Archived from the original on February 19, 2003.
Retrieved July 20, 2007.
^ Staff. "Country Music
Highway Stars". Kentucky's US 23 Country
Music Highway. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
^ a b
Ohio Department of Transportation (2003). Official Ohio
Transportation Map (Map) (2003–04 ed.). Columbus:
Ohio Department of
^ The New Eden, p. 197[full citation needed]
^ US Geological Survey (July 1, 1972). "3 km S of Jenkins, Kentucky,
United States" (Map).
Microsoft Research Maps. Microsoft.
Ohio Department of Highways (1931). Map of
Ohio Showing State
Highway System (MrSID) (Map). 1 in:12 mi. Columbus: Ohio
Department of Highways.
^ Dorgan, Howard (1997). In the Hands of a Happy God: the 'No-Hellers'
of Central Appalachia (1st ed.). University of
^ Straw, Richard A. (2004). High Mountains Rising: Appalachia in Time
and Place. University of Illinois Press. p. 92.
^ Allen, Calvin (December 22, 2008). "The political history of I-26".
Mountain Xpress. Asheville, NC. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
^ "About". Countrymusichighway.com. March 1, 1994. Retrieved August
KML file (edit • help)
Display on Google Maps
Template:Attached KML/U.S. Route 23
KML is not from Wikidata
Wikimedia Commons has media related to U.S. Route 23.
Endpoints of US 23
Browse numbered routes
← KY 22
KY 28 →
United States Numbered
Routes in italics are no longer a part of the system. Highlighted
routes are considered main rou