SC

‘Carolina Crossroads’ Update: SCDOT Set To Unveil New Plan To The Public

‘Open house’ scheduled for this evening in Columbia …

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Several weeks ago, our media outlet provided our audience with an in-depth update on the ‘Carolina Crossroads’ project – the largest infrastructure project in South Carolina history. Managed by the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT), this project represents “a massive overhaul of multiple congested interchanges at the geographic center of the Palmetto State’s outdated interstate system.”

Specifically, it seeks to untangle “Malfunction Junction” – a poorly conceptualized “cloverleaf” interchange conjoined to a dysfunctional directional interchange handling (or rather mis-handling) traffic coming in and out of Columbia, S.C. (Interstate 126) as well as local and regional traffic headed to and from Charleston and Greenville/ Spartanburg (Interstate 26) and to and from Augusta and Florence (Interstate 20).

Our outlet has been covering this project since it began three-and-a-half years ago – chiding state leaders for waiting so long to address one of (if not the) most “notorious infrastructure bottlenecks” South Carolina has ever seen.

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As we previously reported, SCDOT officials announced their revised, multi-faceted plan to complete this monumental project – which was originally projected to cost $1.6 billion.

What will its final price tag be? We still don’t know …

Today, SCDOT officials will unveil their revised plan to the public at an “open house” meeting in Columbia, S.C. this evening (April 9, 2024). According to an advisory from the agency, the meeting will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. EDT at the Dutch Square Center (421 Bush River Road).

“This drop-in style event will provide an opportunity for members of the public to gain insight into the re-phased project,” the advisory noted. “Attendees will be guided through display maps and videos, and project team members will be present to answer questions.”

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As we noted in our coverage in February, the final phase of the project has been divided into five distinct stages – beginning with the relocation of utilities and frontage roads surrounding the interchanges at the heart of Malfunction Junction. After that, 270 acres of land surrounding the interchange must be cleared and grubbed – a process which will begin later this year.

Next, SCDOT must replace the spans which carry Interstate 20 over the Saluda River in Lexington County as well as two bridges which carry the highway across a CSX rail line. Interstate 20 must also be widened from U.S. Highway 378 to Bush River Road.

After that, construction crews will go into the guts of “Malfunction Junction” – specifically the confluence of Interstates 26 and 126 approximately four miles northwest of the state capital of Columbia, S.C. In addition to widening Interstate 26, new bridges must be built to carry the thoroughfare over the Saluda River, the CSX rail line and a realigned eastbound lane of Interstate 126.

Finally, the dysfunctional cloverleaf that connects Interstate 20 and 26 must be replaced.

To view the plan for yourself, click here (.pdf).

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SCDOT Carolina Crossroads updated construction schedule. (SCDOT)

“SCDOT remains committed to completing the Carolina Crossroads Project and building a safer, more modern corridor for our community,” the advisory concluded.

That’s good. Because such a corridor is decades overdue.

SCDOT – or more precisely the powerful S.C. General Assembly which controls it – must now commit itself to addressing other glaring infrastructure inadequacies in the Palmetto State, including the widening of both Interstate 95 in the Lowcountry/ Pee Dee and Interstate 85 in the Palmetto Upstate.

Why haven’t these critical needs been met? Because for years, powerful legislative leaders have wielded dictatorial control over SCDOT spending priorities – placing pet projects and politically motivated “economic development” deals ahead of core infrastructure obligations. Meanwhile, efforts to properly prioritize infrastructure dollars toward more pressing needs have been explicitly rejected by the status quo

The result? Dysfunction. Disaster. And far too often, death.

Oh, and all of this has unfolded during one of the largest tax hikes in South Carolina history …

Count on our media outlet to continue monitoring the progress of this project – as well as SCDOT’s ongoing efforts to address other critical, unmet infrastructure needs. Similarly, count on us to hold the politicians pulling SCDOT’s strings accountable for their continued lack of prioritization when it comes to discharging this core function of government.

UPDATE |

Our Dylan Nolan attended this afternoon’s presentation …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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3 comments

Aklia Singh April 10, 2024 at 2:43 am

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Reply
Carol April 10, 2024 at 2:53 am

The $1.8 Billion that was found in the treasury should go back to the people of SC. If that’s not possible, it should go towards improving Malfunction Junction.

Reply
Anonymous April 10, 2024 at 9:34 am

It would also seem that getting the numerous trucks transporting containers from the docks on I26 might be improved if a rail line was built to transport these containers. Always a lot of trucks moving these containers on 26.

Reply

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