Program calls for first planned widening project on I-95 and completing the widening of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission approved expanding the agency's interstate widening program by specifically targeting rural sections of the interstate system that are critical to the movement of freight across the state. This freight program is in addition to the interstate widening program that has been set in motion for the urban areas of the state.
The section of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston as well as a portion of I-95 at the southern end of the state are noted as the top three rural interstate corridors designated for widening by the Commission.
6th Congressional District Commissioner J. Barnwell Fishburne said, "Improving the I-95 and I-26 interstate corridors is absolutely critical to the continued economic growth of the state and it is long overdue. I applaud the staff and Commission for recognizing that we needed to address the interstate needs in the rural areas of the state," said Fishburne.
Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said, "Trucking is the primary mode of freight travel in South Carolina and it's projected to grow by more than 60% over the next two decades. To close the widening gap on I-26 between Columbia and Charleston is estimated to cost about $1.8 Billion in today's dollars and to widen the first 33 miles of I-95 is estimated to cost $1.2 Billion. We must start today with identifying how to break these corridors into projects that can be advanced as funding becomes available."
1st Congressional District Commissioner Robby Robbins, said, "The Commission's action today finally puts SCDOT in the right position to begin to tackle the widening of these two key interstate corridors. We are seeing tremendous economic growth and we must widen our interstates in order to remain economically competitive as well as address the needs of our existing businesses and consumers."
The Commission approved directing $110 million annually towards tackling these much needed widening projects once the fuel tax credit program sunsets in July of 2023. This is the six-year program in which motorists can file for tax credits connected to the increased fuel tax enacted in 2017 on their state income tax returns.