The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has directed that the I-85 widening project contractor modify his construction operations in order to remove the “chute” on the project as quickly as possible. Details are still being worked out between SCDOT and the contractor and will be refined over the next several days. Based on initial discussions, it is anticipated that the contractor will be able to remove the chute in two stages with construction in each stage lasting less than 90 days each.
During the first stage, the contractor will focus efforts on completing the widening work needed in the southbound direction for the five mile section between mile markers 81 and 86. Once the widening work is completed, the chute will be removed in this five mile stretch.
Then, the contractor will repeat the same approach for the second stage, which is the remaining five mile section of the chute between mile markers 86 and 91.
Additional details, including specific timelines for the chute removal, will be negotiated next week between SCDOT and the contractor.
SCDOT will continue to partner with state and local law enforcement agencies and local first responders to identify and implement additional measures designed to get motorists to slow down, pay attention and stay in the proper lanes. Several recommendations for improvements were identified for the project corridor early Friday, July 16, 2021 by a team of SCDOT engineers. All of their recommendations were immediately approved for implementation.
“All options are on the table and we will continue to look for more ways to make the project corridor safer,” Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said Saturday, July 17, 2021. “Today the State Transport Police began patrolling the project corridor in order to assist the State Highway Patrol and others in slowing traffic down through the work zone. This is especially important as we lower the speed limit in the south bound direction to 45 mph and prepare to make additional changes to signage to reinforce that all truck traffic must be in the outside lane.”
The new lower speed limit signs are expected to be erected Saturday night and will be effective immediately. Additional safety measures, such as rumble strips for the chute, which were also recommended during Friday’s review, were approved for installation by the contractor and will be installed as quickly as possible.
Further safety enhancements will be reviewed by the project team in coordination with a national work zone expert who is expected to arrive in state early next week.