After a swift federal review process, a comprehensive upgrade to one the South Carolina’s most traveled interchanges is now set to move forward with construction next year.
Headed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation, Carolina Crossroads is an extensive infrastructure improvement project that reimagines and reconstructs roughly 14 miles of roadway and overpasses near Columbia along the I-20, 26 and 126 corridor. Designed to accommodate recent growth in the region and improve safety, the project involves updates to roadways, additional lanes and safer interchanges.
Carolina Crossroads is also identified as one of the state’s top interstate priorities in its 10-year infrastructure plan.
Late last year, SCDOT submitted a permit application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District as part of a mandatory federal review process. Reviews of complex permit requests like Carolina Crossroads require extensive review and interagency coordination.
After close coordination with the lead agency, the Federal Highway Administration, on preparing an Environmental Impact Statement in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA that was published in May 2019, the Charleston District was able to complete its permit application review within nine months.
In a virtual signing ceremony between the Charleston District and the SCDOT on Sept. 21, Lt. Col. Rachel Honderd, commander, Charleston District, officially signed the Department of the Army permit, granting a 15-year construction timeline.
“Carolina Crossroads is a major project for the state of South Carolina,” Honderd said. “Our team has worked closely with South Carolina Department of Transportation, as well as the Federal Highway Administration, and many other state and local agencies, at every step to ensure this project is nothing short of a success. I couldn’t be prouder of our Regulatory Division for their diligence and dedication.”
Christy Hall, secretary of the SCDOT, as well as members of the project team, were also present for the permit’s virtual signing ceremony.
“We appreciate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ thorough and expert work on this project and its commitment to working with all stakeholders involved to significantly improve the mobility and safety of our state’s citizens,” Hall said. “Our ability to obtain the permit in just nine months is a testament to the Corps’ dedicated staff members and the strong working relationship we have with them.”
Estimated at $1.6 billion, Carolina Crossroads is broken up into five phases of construction. The first two phases are scheduled to begin in 2021, and the entire project is projected to complete 2029. To learn more about the project, visit www.scdotcarolinacrossroads.com.