Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Spartanburg are the chief transportation centers in South Carolina. The state is served by a network of federal and state highways totaling 106,616 km (66,248 mi), including 1,357 km (843 mi) of the national interstate highway system.
Water transportation, which was the chief means of transportation in colonial South Carolina, is now relatively unimportant. The Savannah River is the only navigable river now extensively used for river traffic, and many of the early-19th-century canals have long been abandoned. However, barges, pleasure craft, and other coastal vessels are numerous on the Atlantic portion of the Intracoastal Waterway, which extends along the coast.
Railroad construction dates from 1830, but most of the state’s early railroad lines were heavily damaged during the Civil War. In 2004 there were 3,701 km (2,300 mi) of railroad track. Some 14 percent of the tonnage of goods hauled on the rail system is lumber and another 14 percent is pulp and paper. Nonmetallic minerals accounted for 8 percent of freight originating in the state, and chemicals represented another 16 percent. Container traffic through the Port of Charleston has become increasingly important, and railroads haul about one-quarter of the containers shipped through the port. In 2009 the state had 8 airfields, most of which were private. The principal airports were at Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville-Spartanburg, although they ranked near the bottom of the nation’s busiest airfields, overshadowed by major airline hubs in Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Encarta "South Carolina" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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