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South Carolina DOT Moves Forward with Carolina Crossroads Phase 1

COLUMBIA, SC — Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall has signed the contract for the Carolina Crossroads Phase I project in Columbia. The signing formalizes the partnership between the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and the Archer-United joint venture (Archer Western and United Infrastructure) for the Phase I project worth $210 million.

The entire $1.7-billion Carolina Crossroads project is broken down into five phases. The plan is to provide a safer, more modern interchange design for the state's top interstate "pinch point," commonly known as "Malfunction Junction" in the Midlands of South Carolina. More than 134,000 vehicles including commuters, freight carriers, and other travelers pass through this area on a daily basis.

Phase I of the Carolina Crossroads project will center on the reconfiguration of the Colonial Life Boulevard interchange on I-126. Some improvements will be made to improve traffic flow along I-26 heading in the direction of US 378. This project will be undertaken by the joint venture team using the design-build method. This strategy will allow the final design work and construction to be completed by a proven team of industry experts on an expedited schedule.

The contract signing marks the beginning of work to finalize the design and other pre-construction activities for the project. The public should expect to see major construction activity beginning in spring 2022 with all the work associated with the Phase 1 project being completed by the end of 2024. Hall said that SCDOT looks forward to partnering with Archer-United to make the start of this long-awaited project a reality for South Carolina.

"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."

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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
  • 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 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 approximately $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.

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