Senator plans meeting to get answers about "horrendous" I-26 widening

Published: Aug. 4, 2016 at 11:37 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 at 9:54 AM EDT
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CALHOUN COUNTY, SC (WIS) - For Becky Pou of Sandy Run, it seems like the stretch of I-26 near her home has been under construction forever.

"It's a nightmare day in and day out here," said Pou. "I would say that it is chaotic. It is disastrous. It is dangerous, and it is a nuisance for our community."

Back in 2013, the South Carolina Department of Transportation gave a contract to two companies, Anderson Columbia and Boggs Paving, to widen a portion from I-77 to Calhoun County and renovate about a dozen miles in Calhoun County itself.

Three years later, Pou isn't impressed.

"It looks actually like a drunk man actually tried to paint the lines on the road because the fog line itself is shaped like a serpent," she said.

Just down the road, on Highway 176, the owner of Sandy Run Outdoors and Hardware said there's another problem.

The gridlock on I-26 caused by construction, an accident, or even holiday travel can sometimes cause heavy traffic to divert onto 176 in front of his business.

"Several times a week. It's constant. It's constant. It's not anything that, you know, is sporadic," said Taylor. "We've actually lost some customers because it's too hard for him to get here."

State Senator Nikki Setzler has been urging SCDOT to encourage its contractors to get this work done.

"It's my understanding the original completion date was July of 2015. They gave them an extension until November of 2015. This is August of 2016," said Sen. Setzler.

SCDOT said major progress has been made, and the work is scheduled to be completed by next month. Until then, it's withholding $10,000 from the contractors each day. So far, SCDOT has withheld about $2.9 million from the behind-schedule contractors.

But, after sending SCDOT a stack of letters, Setzler still said many of his questions remain unanswered.

"I've asked for the Department of Transportation to hold a public meeting in Sandy Run and explain to the community what happened on this project. Where are we?  Why did it take so long? What's the future hold? Give the public the information they need," he said.

Pou and Taylor will both be there.

"You know, an apology would be good, but, at this point, I really don't know what they could do or say other than to tell us that they would not allow this to happen again," Taylor said.

Back in February 2016, SCDOT officials told WIS the project was near completion.

WIS reached out to both contractors on Thursday. Boggs Paving had no comment. Anderson Columbia has yet to respond.

As for Setzler's meeting with SCDOT, it'll happen at 7PM on August 22nd at Beulah United Methodist Church in Sandy Run. That meeting will be open to the public.

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