SCDOT, commuters prepare for major interstate construction project
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Most Columbia commuters refer to the the intersection of I-20, 26 and 126 as Malfunction Junction.
This summer, work begins on a multiphase project to improve traffic and safety in the area.
“I hate coming to Columbia in the morning,” said Midlands resident Corinthea Stack.
Stack says he has back luck when it comes to Malfunction Junction.
“I lost a rim and a tire. My daughter lost a rim and a tire. My wife lost a tire,” Stack said. “I had just put the set on and they didn’t have 100 miles on them. She hit a pothole and there’s a big bubble on the tire.”
Drivers in the area say the main concern with Malfunction Junction is the amount of accidents that happen there.
“We were sitting in traffic and they hit me from behind,” Stack said about one incident.
“It is dangerous,” agrees Lexington resident Brenda Kyzer. “The merging, people not being familiar with the intersections. That does cause accidents and distracted driving of course.”
Over the summer, South Carolina Department of Transportation begins the first two phases of a project known as Carolina Crossroads. It hopes to improve safety, modernize the roads. reduce traffic and accommodate for growth in the area.
“Those center around the Colonial Life Boulevard at I-126 interchange for Phase One and the Broad River Road at I-20 interchange for Phase Two, said Brian Klauk, Carolina Crossroads project manager.
Carolina Crossroads is due to take five phases, last until 2029 and cost more than 1 billion dollars. However, commuters in the Midlands say the project is long overdue.
“I hate that it takes so long to get it done, but it’s a necessary evil,” Kyzer said.
The project will widen lanes as well as reconstruct. replace and add new interchanges but will result in delays and detours due to exit and lane closures.
However, the project has been split into five different phases to help reduce that impact.
“It allows the public to get through safely. It keeps our workers safe,” Klauk said. “It also allows the economic impact of investing such a large amount of money into a project to be spread out over a period of time.”
Stack says the area has been a hazard for years and while he’s glad it’s being worked on, says it should have been addressed gradually over time.
“I hope somebody learns from this,” he concluded.