The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has announced that it is moving forward with a $127 Million contract to build Phase 2 of the Carolina Crossroads project. This contract comes just 3 months after a $210 Million contract for Phase 1 was awarded and brings the total amount currently under contract for Carolina Crossroads to $337 Million.
Phase 2 will update the Broad River Road interchange at I-20 in order to create better traffic flow to the interstate as well as lengthen I-20 westbound’s access to I-26 westbound in order to minimize congestion from vehicles changing interstates. An innovative delivery approach will be utilized for this phase of the project which will streamline final design and construction work and allow the project to be completed on an expedited timeline.
A joint venture of Archer-United contractors is expected to immediately begin work to finalize the design and other pre-construction activities for the project. The 134,000 vehicles that travel the project corridor on a daily basis should anticipate seeing major construction activity begin next summer with an anticipated completion by the end of 2024 for Phase 2.
The scope of the entire $1.7 billion Carolina Crossroads project is a five-phase project that will replace and modernize the outdated I-26 / I-20 / I-126 interchange, which is also known as “Malfunction Junction” in the Midlands region of South Carolina.
Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall says that SCDOT looks forward to this project getting underway. “Malfunction Junction has been known for years as a major pinch point in our state. An estimated 112 hours per year are wasted by each person sitting in traffic at this bottleneck and it is time to relieve this daily traffic jam in order to better serve the people, businesses and freight needs of our great state.”
Phase 1 final design and pre-construction activities began in May 2021. Phase 1 includes reconstructing Colonial Life Boulevard at the I-126 Interchange, lengthening the exit ramp to US 378 from I-26 eastbound, and widening portions of I-26 associated with the ramp.
Procurement for Phase 3, Phase 4 and Phase 5 has not begun. All five phases of Carolina Crossroads are anticipated to be fully complete by the end of 2029.
Upon completion, the entire Carolina Crossroads project will include:
· 14 miles of interstate widening across portions of I-26, I-20, and I-126,
· seven reconstructed interchanges, featuring the replacement of outdated cloverleaf loops with modern ramp designs, and
· safer interchange exit points that are farther apart and separated from other interstate traffic, resulting in better traffic flow.
The $1.7 billion project is a part of SCDOT’s 10-Year Plan to bring our state’s infrastructure up to a state of good repair and modernize key portions of our interstates. The 10-Year Plan is funded with a combination of federal and state funds, including funds made possible by the 2017 state gas tax increase. The Carolina Crossroads project is expected to be funded by 90% federal funds and 10% state funds.
The total interstate investment in the Midlands under construction or planned is approximately $2.4 billion, which includes the widening work underway on I-20 and I-26 leading into the region. Statewide, SCDOT has tripled its road work to $3.4 billion in recent years and is ahead of schedule following the fourth year of the 10-Year Plan which ended on June 30, 2021. The fifth year of the Plan began on July 1, 2021.