I-26 construction near I-77 won't be completed on time - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

I-26 construction near I-77 won't be completed on time

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

You've likely noticed some major construction on Interstate 26 near Interstate 77 for about 20 miles toward Charleston. Since 2013, the South Carolina Department of Transportation has been working to widen the interstate in that area.

Recently drivers have asked when construction on the project will be completed. We contacted SCDOT after receiving emails and calls from viewers who say they're concerned about road conditions from the construction.

For the most part crews have been working overnight. SCDOT says crews have to finish for the day before traffic picks up for the morning commute.

Mobile users, tap here to see other widening projects.

This project is focused on widening and fixing the road from I-77 to around Old Sandy Run Road, and then for about 10 miles eastbound beyond that SCDOT is repaving. The widening will make I-26 a six lane interstate. The concrete barrier wall is also finished.

Next month the CSX bridge replacement will be complete and all that will be left is finishing the repaving. But because the road isn't completely paved yet drivers have had some problems.

"We did have pothole issue earlier on. We've tried to stay on top of those to repair those timely so those potholes are not in place. We're not seeing nearly as many pothole claims as we once were. So we think all of that is behind us. Just realize the remaining work you're going to see at night -- you're not going to see it during the day. So I understand the frustration, but most of the remaining work that you're going to see will be at night,” said Allen Thompson, a SCDOT Resident Construction Engineer.

More than 60,000 cars drive on this stretch of road every day, which is why SCDOT decided to widen and resurface the road. But when the project was proposed, engineers plan for drainage problems.

Thompson said when the project was originally slated to be finished—they did not realize the existing drainage system was more than 50 years old. When they began the project some of the contract items that were needed were not available for the old system.

So engineers ended up having to add drainage repairs. Those repairs added a couple of months to the contract in order to finish the project correctly.

Right now, some parts of the road are in pretty bad shape. The concrete is torn up in certain areas and Thompson says that is specifically for the runoff to drain properly from the road once the final layer of asphalt is laid.

"You have to mill the surface of the road in order to change the way the road drains," Thompson said. "That sometimes tears up the road until we can get the surface down. But it has to come in steps and that's what you're seeing right now. The final surface is being added. You'll see that on the inside lanes first. You'll see some of that going on at night. You'll see it the next morning. You’ll see the inside lanes being resurfaced."

The project is scheduled to be completed in November.

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