S.C. DOT plans study of Midlands’ interstate corridor
By Chuck Crumbo
Published July 25, 2014
The S.C. Department of Transportation plans to conduct an analysis of the Midlands’ interstate highway corridor aimed at determining what’s needed to support economic growth.
The analysis will be similar in scope to studies the agency has done on the Interstate-526 corridor in Charleston and the Interstate-85 corridor in Greenville, said Dipak Patel, technical application director at S.C. DOT.
“We develop a buffet of projects that addresses needs of the area to keep economic growth growing,” Patel said.
Interstate highways included in the analysis will include Interstate 20, Interstate 126 and Interstate 77, according to a legal ad published this week. In the ad, S.C. DOT is seeking proposals from consulting engineering firms to work on the study.
The analysis also will examine needs of multimodal transportation in the region and the utilization of major roadways besides the interstate highways.
The study will compile a list of projects and include a cost-benefit analysis of each item. It will rank the projects according to need and economic impact.
The study then will be used by S.C. DOT to determine what projects need to done first, Patel said.
Long-range studies aimed at better utilization of the state’s interstate highways are necessary because of the high cost and space limitations in urban areas for adding more traffic lanes, Patel said.
The study will involve soliciting public comment from various stakeholders ranging from environmentalists to truckers.
Patel said it took about 18 months to complete the I-526 study in the Charleston area.
“You have to be flexible,” Patel said.
He pointed out that “right, smack dab in the middle” of the Charleston study, Boeing announced a major expansion at its North Charleston operation.
More information about the S.C. DOT’s solicitation is available online.