COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The next steps in the arduous process to clean up the interstate system northwest of South Carolina's capital city eliminate several proposals while indicating which direction the project is known as 'Carolina Crossroads' may take in the coming years.
South Carolina's number one traffic and infrastructure project just got a little clearer. After approximately two-and-a-half years of analysis and screening, the I-20/1-26/1-126 corridor's future is coming into focus with the project team's latest request for public input.
Gone from consideration are several alternatives that include building new connectors or widening secondary roads. Those eliminations include a connector road from the Irmo area east to I-77 and two roadways that would have connection I-126, I-20, and I-126 near the Saluda River. One of those connections would have taken dozens of homes. Ideas to widen St. Andrews Road and Broad River Road were also scrapped.
The remaining two "Reasonable Alternatives" focus on the main interstate corridor and interchanges.
Both proposals include adding an additional lane in each direction on I-26 from Broad River Road to I-126.
The proposals also remove a direct connection between Bush River Road and I-26.
"By removing the direct connection...traffic conflict points and weaving maneuvers between Bush River Road and the I-20/1-26 interchanges would be eliminated, thereby reducing traffic congestion/disruption," the report states.
Replacing direct ramps to Bush River Road would be a new, full interchange at Colonial Life Boulevard and I-126 or the current I-20/Bush River Road interchange.
Perhaps most challenging will be the intersection of I-20 and I-26. Both of the final alternatives address the major issues there by re-working the ramp utilizing a turbine interchange. Improvements for traffic flow at the Harbison Boulevard, Piney Grove Road and St. Andrews Road interchanges are also being proposed.
Here's what 'Malfunction Junction' could look like in the future:
A public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 19 from noon - 7 p.m. at Columbia Conference Center at 169 Laurelhurst Avenue in Columbia. The purpose of the meeting is to present and solicit comments from the public. Interactive maps of the "Reasonable Alternatives" along with representatives from the SCDOT will be available at the meeting. You may also leave your comments here.
There is also a no build option.
The project is expected to cost between $1.3 and $1.5 billion. The right of way acquisition, should it be necessary, isn't expected to start until sometime in late 2019.