Homeowner preparing to say goodbye to home due to Carolina Crossroads project

Homeowner preparing to say goodbye to home due to Carolina Crossroads project
A proposed connector between I-126, I-26 and I-20 would have gone through several West Columbia neighborhoods.

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A homeowner in Columbia says he is mentally preparing to be forced to sell his home after the most recent proposals for the Carolina Crossroads project show it will be acquired by the state.

Donald Bishop has lived at the end of Fairhaven Drive in Columbia for the past 24 years and never expected he'd have to vacate the house he's made into a home.

"I'm more upset with the way they've gone about things," Bishop said. "I've told them with my disability and all, my age, I'm afraid I wont' be able to find another house and get in one that is as nice as what I'm in."

Bishop said he's invested nearly $30,000 in renovations into the home, including a new deck, bathrooms, kitchen and paneling. If he's forced to sell his house, he said he's afraid he won't get the full value.

"I've looked online and its appraised for around $100,000," he said. "I think I should get at least $130,000 or $150,000 after all I've done to it."

The Carolina Crossroads project is designed to "improve local mobility, enhance traffic operations by reducing existing traffic congestion, while accommodating future traffic needs, improve freight mobility, improve safety in the corridor and improve system linkages," according to the project's website.

The improvement project covers 14 miles of interstate and 12 interchanges including Interstate 20, Interstate 26, and Interstate 126 corridor.

"We're currently analyzing these two alternatives and we'll come back in the spring where we'll propose a recommended preferred alternative," project manager Brian Klauk said. "We'll take public comment on the one we propose and we'll analyze those comments and come back later with a final decision."

Klauk said the corridor is the number one statewide interstate priority.

"There is congestion in the area and it's a project that's very important for us to get accomplished," he said.

The two options currently being considered both include widening I-26 with an additional lane as well as removing the connection between Bush River Road and I-26. The first option eliminates all loops, while the second alternative plans to reconfigure several. Both alternatives will offer a new interchange at Colonial Life Boulevard.

The project will be paid for with both federal and state dollars. Klauk said the project is currently on time and on budget. It's slated to cost between $1.3 and $1.5 billion with construction likely beginning in 2019.

As Bishop waits to hear the fate of his home, he said he'll likely have to enter a care facility due to his health if he's forced to move.

"I figured eventually the highway department would take the house," he said. "But I figured it would be out of my lifetime."

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