US 52 highlighted in red
|Length||2,072 mi (3,335 km)|
|West end||at Portal, ND|
|South end||Broad Street in Charleston, SC|
|States||North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina|
U.S. Route 52 (US 52) is a major United States highway in the central United States that extends from the northern to southeastern region of the United States. Contrary to most other even-numbered U.S. Highways, US 52 primarily follows a northwest-southeast route, and is signed north-south or east-west depending on the local orientation of the route. The highway's northwestern terminus is at Portal, North Dakota, on the Canadian border, where it continues as Saskatchewan Highway 39. Its southeastern terminus is in Charleston, South Carolina, at Number 2 Meeting Street and White Point Gardens along the Charleston Harbor.
In North Dakota, US 52 continues from Highway 39 from the Canada-United States border at North Portal, Saskatchewan and Portal, North Dakota to the Red River in Fargo, a distance of 361 miles (581 km). US 52 is co-signed with US 2 near Minot, where it also intersects with US 83. US 52 is also co-signed with US 281 for 44 miles (71 km) between Jamestown and Carrington. US 52 is concurrent with Interstate 94 between Jamestown and the Minnesota state line, co-signed between Jamestown and Fargo; however, all of the interchanges for the Fargo/West Fargo portion of the route are unsigned.
In the state of Minnesota, US 52 enters the state with Interstate 94 at Moorhead and follows Interstate 94 southeast all the way to the Twin Cities. The portion of the highway which overlaps Interstate 94 is unsigned. From downtown St. Paul, US 52 continues on its own southeast over the Lafayette Bridge in St. Paul, continuing as a four lane road to Rochester and the Iowa state line. MnDOT has a long-term goal of making US 52 a freeway with limited-access interchanges between St. Paul and Interstate 90 south of Rochester. South from Interstate 94 in St. Paul there is a freeway segment to just south of Concord Blvd in Inver Grove Heights. The portion of the highway between Inver Grove Heights and Pine Island is built to expressway standards. Another freeway segment begins from Pine Island, through Rochester reaching its largest single capacity in Minnesota through Rochester as a 6-8 lane freeway, toward I-90 where it converts to a rural two-lane highway. The highway then proceeds to the Iowa state line.
US 52 enters Iowa north of the unincorporated community of Burr Oak. It passes by Luther College on the west side of Decorah. At Calmar the road turns to a southwest-northeast orientation. It joins with US 18 just to the west of Postville. The two highways overlap until a point east of the unincorporated community of Froelich. US 52 roughly parallels the Mississippi River for the rest of its path through Iowa. At Luxemburg it joins with Iowa Highway 136 and continues south. The two highways run together to downtown Dyersville, where it intersects US 20 and turns eastward towards Dubuque.
West of Dubuque, US 52 merges south onto the Southwest Arterial, a four-lane expressway directing traffic around the southern edge of the city. US 52 heads southeast to a junction with US 61 and US 151. All three routes travel northbound (even US 52, which is signed as southbound) as an expressway, until US 52 departs in Key West to remain close to the Mississippi River. After passing through a hilly and scenic region, including the small river city of Bellevue, the highway turns to an east-west orientation near Sabula at the junction of Iowa Highway 64 and the northern terminus of US 67. In Sabula, the highway becomes a wrong-way road; northbound traffic travels south, and vice versa, from Sabula to the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge, where US 52 crosses over the Mississippi River into Illinois.
North of Dubuque, US 52 was formerly routed onto a narrow and winding road, concurrent with Iowa Highway 3. While scenic, the road has been the scene of numerous accidents over the years owing to this nature. Between 1964 and 1967, this segment of the route was designated Alternate US 52 and US 52 was rerouted south from Luxemburg to Dyersville along Iowa Highway 136, and east from Dyersville to Dubuque along US 20; however in 1967, US 52 was restored to the Iowa Highway 3 alignment. After the completion of the Southwest Arterial in 2020, a similar change took place as US 52 was once again removed from the Iowa Highway 3 alignment and once again routed from Luxemburg to Dyersville to Dubuque, then onto the Southwest Arterial, to US 61/US 151, finally reaching its former routing at Key West.
The majority of US 52 in Iowa is located within the unglaciated Driftless Area.
In Illinois, US 52 runs southeast from the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge at the terminus of Iowa Highway 64 and Illinois Route 64 in Savanna, passing through the cities of Dixon, Amboy and Mendota. US 52 then turns due south and then east, crossing Interstate 39 near Troy Grove. It continues east, passing through Shorewood and then through the southern portion of Joliet, where it is a major thoroughfare in the city of Joliet (Jefferson Street), avoiding the city of Chicago proper. It joins with U.S. Route 45 through Kankakee, thereafter running concurrently with U.S. Route 24, east of Watseka to the Indiana state line.
In Indiana, US 52 runs in a northwest-southeast direction. It passes through Lafayette and Indianapolis. Northwest of Indianapolis, US 52 runs along the same general area as, and is considered an alternative route to, Interstate 65. In the Indianapolis area, it is overlapped with Interstate 865 and Interstate 465. East of Indianapolis, it is considered an alternative to Interstate 74 before joining it near the Ohio border.
When U.S. 52 went through Downtown Indianapolis, it went onto Brookville Road, then turned right onto English Avenue. It then joined U.S. 421 when it turns right onto Southeastern Avenue. US 52/421 joined U.S. 40 when it turned left onto Washington Street. It then splits into Washington Street (westbound) and Maryland Street (eastbound). US 52 then turned right onto West Street (from West Street, it turned left onto Maryland Street). U.S. 52 turned left on either Indiana Avenue or 16th Street (US 136). Eventually, U.S. 52 would overlap U.S. 136 on 16th Street. It then turned right onto Lafayette Road, which became Indianapolis Road when reaching Zionsville. When I-65 was completed through Downtown Indianapolis, U.S. 52 got on I-65 from the Lafayette Road interchange, and traveled on I-65 the rest of the way. In 1970, the route was re-routed onto the south belt of I-465 from Brookville Road to I-65. It was re-routed again on its current route around Indianapolis in either 2000 or 2001.
US 52 enters Ohio concurrently with Interstate 74 in northwestern Hamilton County. US 52 then merges with Interstate 75 from Interstate 74's terminus and exits onto Hopple Street in Cincinnati. It runs along Central Parkway and Central Avenue through downtown and then skirts the Cincinnati riverfront along Mehring Way past Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park, and Heritage Bank Center (formerly U.S. Bank Arena), onto Pete Rose Way and Riverside Drive. From Cincinnati eastward, US 52 generally follows the Ohio River. There is a brief concurrency with Interstate 275 near California, a neighborhood on the far eastern edge of the city of Cincinnati. Towns along its path include New Richmond, Aberdeen, Ripley and Manchester. The section between Interstate 275 and New Richmond was modernized in the 1960s. Parts of the old route run parallel to the newer highway. Around Portsmouth and Ironton US 52 has several freeway or expressway sections. In Portsmouth, US 52 intersects with US 23. At Chesapeake, US 52 crosses the Ohio River into Huntington, West Virginia.
The sections of US 52 that follow the Ohio River are known as the Ohio River Scenic Byway, which is part of the National Scenic Byway Project. The section between SR 125 and SR 73 (near Portsmouth) is also designated as Scenic Scioto Heritage Trail. This portion of US 52, along the Ohio between Cincinnati and Huntington, is the only part where it falls in geographical sequence, south of US 50 and north of US 60.
US 52 serves western and southern portions of West Virginia, running from Huntington to Bluefield. The highway is undergoing a major expansion project which began in 2007 and at current funding levels is likely to take many years to finish.
During its run through West Virginia, US 52 twice enters Kentucky briefly, along the Williamson, West Virginia bypass, in order to prevent the blasting of several hillsides in West Virginia. These stretches were completed in 1996 as part of the Corridor G (U.S. Route 119) project. The speed limit in West Virginia is 65 mph (105 km/h), but drops to 55 mph (89 km/h) along the Kentucky portions, as Kentucky law states that any non-freeway (as is US 52) must not have a speed limit higher than 55 mph (89 km/h). In each instance, however, US 52 re-enters West Virginia.
US 52 enters Virginia from West Virginia, and in Virginia closely follows Interstate 77. It enters southwestern Virginia near Bluefield and passes through Wytheville and Hillsville before leaving the state south of Cana.
US 52 enters North Carolina just north west of Mount Airy. It goes by Pilot Mountain, one of the most distinctive natural features in North Carolina. Through the Piedmont Triad region, US 52 is mostly a limited-access freeway. The route joins Interstate 85 Business into Lexington, North Carolina and shares Interstate 85 around Salisbury, North Carolina. The segment of US 52 from Interstate 40 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Lexington is currently being upgraded to Interstate highway standards for the future Interstate 285 corridor. The segment from northern Winston-Salem to just south of Mount Airy is expected to form part of the Interstate 74 corridor through North Carolina.
South of the Triad area, after splitting from Interstate 85 in Salisbury, US 52 is typically a two-lane route linking some of the state's smaller cities and towns. Albemarle is the largest municipality along this segment of US 52 to the South Carolina state line.
US 52 enters South Carolina northeast of Cheraw. From Darlington southward it is a multilane highway and freeway, passing through Florence, Lake City, Kingstree, Moncks Corner and North Charleston before US 52's terminus at number Line Street in Charleston.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (August 2010)
Historically, US 52 was routed along University Avenue between Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the 1980s and 1990s, the highway was gradually shifted onto its present route along Interstate 94. However, there was a gap in the definition of the highway for a few years until 1995. Since then, it has been routed along the interstate between the Twin Cities, although as of 2007, there was still a sign on University Avenue entering Hennepin County telling motorists to follow County Highways 36 and 37 to reach US 52--which kept them on University, then on 4th St. for historic westbound US 52. Historic westbound US 52 then crossed the Central Avenue bridge (current Minnesota State Highway 65) and turned onto the current routing of County Highway 81 northwest to Osseo. It then followed the current route of U.S. Highway 169 north to Anoka.
In Rochester, Minnesota, US 52 was recently expanded to six lanes. Long term plans have US 52 from St. Paul to Interstate 90 becoming a freeway, and some have suggested that when the conversion is complete, the freeway should become a spur route for Interstate 90 (I-X90). Currently, Interstate 90 has no spur routes in Minnesota.
On April 10, 2015, a rockslide dropped a boulder the size of a house onto the westbound lanes of US 52 in Lawrence County just east of the bridge over the Ohio River to Ashland, Kentucky, leading to closures and detours while two days of cleanup took place.
Established in 1926, US 121 traversed from Lexington, North Carolina, to Max Meadows, Virginia, estimated to be 107 miles (172 km). In North Carolina it overlapped with NC 66; in Virginia it was overlapped with SR 15. In 1934, US 52 was extended southeast into Virginia and North Carolina, and replaced all of US 121.
Long term plans call for I-74 to be expanded eastward along the current US 52 corridor from its current eastern terminus of I-75 in Cincinnati to US 23, which has been proposed to be upgraded to Interstate Highway standards and be signed as I-73 in Portsmouth. Lack of sufficient funding has prevented the construction of both freeways in Ohio.