The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has announced it is moving forward with awarding a contract to begin the first phase of the $1.7 billion Carolina Crossroads project.
The Carolina Crossroads project in its entirety is planned to provide a safer and modern interchange design for the infamous Malfunction Junction in the Midlands.
More than 134,000 vehicles travel through the area on a daily basis. Those commuters, freight haulers, and other daily travelers experience more than 112 hours of delay each year at this interchange due to congestion.
The Phase 1 of the Carolina Crossroads project, valued at $210 million, will focus on the reconfiguration of the Colonial Life Boulevard interchange area on I-126, and some improvements along I-26 towards US 378 to improve traffic flow. Phase 1 of the project is being delivered via the design-build contracting method, which means the final design work and construction work will be completed by a proven team of industry experts on an expedited timeframe.
Pending final contractual approval by the Secretary of Transportation, the joint-venture of Archer-United is expected to immediately begin work to finalize the design and other pre-construction activities for the project. The public should anticipate seeing major construction activity beginning in spring 2022 with all the work associated with the Phase 1 project being completed by the end of 2024.
Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall said SCDOT looks forward to partnering with Archer-United to make the start of the project a reality.
“The upgrade and modernization of the intersection of I-20, I-26 and I-126 is critical to our economic vitality and will enhance the daily commute for thousands of South Carolinians,” Hall said. “The team of Archer-United has an excellent track record of delivering good, quality projects on time and on budget and I look forward to the improvements beginning on this critical project for the State of South Carolina.“
The next phases of the overall Carolina Crossroads project are in the project development pipeline, with Phase 2 expected to advance to contract later this summer. The remaining phases will advance over the next several years in succession. All five phases of Carolina Crossroads are anticipated to be fully complete and open to traffic 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 the state’s infrastructure up to a state of good repair and modernize key portions of the 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 will be funded by 90 percent federal funds and 10 percent state funds.
The total interstate investment in the Midlands under construction or planned is about $2.4 billion. Statewide, SCDOT has tripled its road work to $3.4 billion in recent years and is ahead of schedule in the fourth year of the 10-Year Plan.