I-20 construction shift may confuse drivers

(Source: SCDOT)
(Source: SCDOT)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The continuing construction project to widen Interstate 20 northeast of Columbia is about to get a little confusing for those traveling eastbound. 

The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced Monday the eastbound lanes from Interstate 77 to Spears Creek Road will be shifted Friday to accommodate the next phase of the project.

Crews will be removing and reconstructing the existing eastbound concrete lanes and replace the eastbound bridge over Alpine Road. To do this, traffic will be shifted onto newly constructed inside lanes.

This shift will split the eastbound motorists into two separate lanes of traffic bordered by concrete barriers. The right lane will travel adjacent to the eastbound lanes and will be able to access all existing exits. The left lane will travel adjacent to the westbound lanes and will bypass the Clemson Road exit, but will be have access to the Spears Creek Road exit.

Motorists planning to exit at Clemson Road need to choose the right lane when the shift begins past the Alpine Road overpass interchange. The traffic split will occur at approximately mile point 77 and ends at mile point 83.

Advance signage, roadside message boards, and overhead message boards will be in place to guide motorists though this traffic shift. In addition, highway advisory radio messages will be broadcast with this information, and a visualization of the new traffic pattern is available here or here:

Motorists are advised to use caution when traveling through the work zone. The speed limit will be 55 mph along the traffic shift. Wide loads traveling I-20 eastbound through the work zone are advised to use Percival Road as an alternate route.

This traffic pattern will be in place for approximately 3 to 4 months. Once the eastbound lanes are complete, a similar traffic shift will occur in the reverse direction to remove and reconstruct the westbound lanes.

The traffic pattern shift is part of innovative planning by the contractor to expedite the project, originally estimated at 3 years, to 600 days (approximately 20 months).

The I-20 construction project consists of widening and reconstruction of approximately six miles of the existing 4-lane concrete pavement to six lanes, installation of noise barrier walls, widening of the westbound bridge over Alpine Road and replacement of the eastbound bridge over Alpine Road. The contractor, Zachry Construction, was awarded the project after bidding 600 days for all work to be completed by May 24, 2014.

To date, the work completed includes widening of the westbound I-20 bridge over Alpine Road and the construction of the two inside travel lanes.

Motorists should be reminded of the 'Steer It and Clear It' law which states that if a driver of a vehicle is involved in a crash resulting in only damage to a vehicle, and if that vehicle is obstructing traffic, the driver of the vehicle shall make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle out of the travel way.

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