MALFUNCTION JUNCTION: SCDOT hopes to improve intersection with Carolina Crossroads project

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — The intersections of I-20, I-26 and I-126 have an infamous nickname among Columbia area residents, Malfunction Junction.

Now, a billion dollar project called Carolina Crossroads plans on fixing the issues that residents say is long overdue.

Thursday at Dutch Square Mall, the South Carolina Department of Transportation hosted an informational meeting for the public to learn more about the first couple of phases and when they will begin.

“Over the years, there’s been significant congestion and safety issues at the area the public calls Malfunction Junction,” said Brian Klauk, SCDOT Carolina Crossroads project manager. “We’re trying to earn a new name for that area, Carolina Crossroads. We’re making a $1.7 billion investment.”

Phases 1 and 2 are set to begin in the coming months.

“We’ve designed a project that will completely revamp Malfunction Junction,” Klauk said. “It’s going to be taking place over an 8 year period in 5 different phases.”

Residents say this is long overdue.

“Thirty years,” laughs Columbia resident Natanna Wright. “That’s how long I’ve lived at Malfunction Junction.”

Efforts to fix the issues have not helped in the past according to locals.

“They’ve tried to fix it several times. They’ve needed the money to do it,” Wright said. “This time they have the money, so I hope they do it right.”

The SCDOT event explained the revamp of seven intersections which includes getting rid of the clover leaf that is currently there.

“I know they’re going to do some different on and off ramps. That has been one of the biggest problems. You got on the freeways I-20, I-26 and 1-126 with the same ramps that you were getting off the freeway. That caused a lot of issues,
Wright said. “Now, they’re separating that so you get on and off at different ramps. That will be very helpful.”

The project involves lane widening and will shut down a few exits and result in a few detours.

“It will shut down our exit. We get off at Bush River Road,” said resident Audy Wright.

“For a few years, we’ll have to suffer a little bit, but I think eventually it’ll work out real good,” Natanna agrees.

The Department of Transportation hopes that breaking up the project into phases will be part of minimizing the disruption to the public.

“Most of the work is going to take place at night so we’re going to minimize the disruption to the traveling public,” Klauk said. “We appreciate the public’s patience as they drive through.”

Categories: Local News, Richland