SCDOT looking at I-85 corridor management

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By Stan Welch

Armed with maps and videos and story boards, a squad of SCDOT personnel set up shop at the Powdersville High School Tuesday afternoon, seeking public input on their concerns with current traffic conditions and operations along I-85, as well as their suggestions for improvement.

The phase of seeking public information is an expansion of a previous traffic study along White Horse Road in Greenville County. Rocque Kneece, one of several engineers on hand, said that the original study was very productive and helpful, leading to DOT’s decision to expand it to the stretch of interstate in Greenville and Anderson counties. Thus, the I-85 Corridor Management Plan is being born.

The management plan, which will be presented by the end of this calendar year, will incorporate strategies for addressing management needs projected until the year 2040. Kneece said that the plan will be phased so that smaller, localized projects can be undertaken as funding becomes available.

Some of the strategies for which input is being sought include those concerned with travel demand, such as minimizing demand and spreading peak demand. A video display showed current traffic flows and projected flows for the year 2040, making the need for a strategy apparent.

Other issues to be considered are the number of passenger trips and the number of freight trips in any given sector, as well as specific devices and methods to be used, such as managed lanes, or HOV lanes, and other lanes or approaches designated to specific types of traffic.

Capacity Improvements are a key issue. Some potential techniques include lane additions and widenings, interchange improvements, lanes separated by barriers, improvements to ramps in terms of length and capacity, as well as more specific, localized improvements.

Additional meetings will be held in the Upstate area as the year and the study progresses.

The next meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 12, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oakland Elementary School Cafeteria, 151 Mud Creek Road, Inman, and will focus on the segment of I-85 in Spartanburg County.

The meetings will have a drop-in format with displays for viewing, informational handouts, and comment forms. Project information, including meeting materials and comment forms, will also be available on the SCDOT website (http://www.scdot.org, Public Hearings Quick link).