The Catch-Up: Project to address ‘Malfunction Junction’ getting restructured

Also: Dam lane closures, bar reopens after suspension, marching bands in state competition

Posted 11/2/23

The state Department of Transportation is changing up the timeline for the project that is set to reshape one of the Midlands’ most notorious interchanges.

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The Catch-Up: Project to address ‘Malfunction Junction’ getting restructured

Also: Dam lane closures, bar reopens after suspension, marching bands in state competition


The state Department of Transportation is changing up the timeline for the project that is set to reshape one of the Midlands’ most notorious interchanges.

The department recently announced “the restructuring of the Carolina Crossroads project to improve project delivery and accelerate the widening of I-26 and I-20 in the Midlands.”

The $2.08 billion project is set to untangle the often troublesome conglomerated interchange between Interstate 20, Interstate 26 and Interstate 126, along the Lexington-Richland county line going into downtown Columbia.

“SCDOT designed the Carolina Crossroads project to advance through a series of phases of construction,” a release states.

The project has been working through phases one and two, initially set to last three years and reshape, respectively, I-126 and I-26 (near where those two interstates come together) and I-20 (north of the I-26 interchange). The main interchanges between the three interstates were previously set to be addressed in phase three, with full project completion anticipated by 2029. The first two phases were contracted out at $208 million and $127 million, respecitvely

“The benefit of this phased approach is the opportunity to use valuable information gathered during the initial phases of the project to enhance and improve future phases,” the release states. “To that end, the department is updating the current plan and resequencing the remaining phases of the project to accelerate work along I-20 and I-26 while utility coordination and project development continues in the main interchange area. The accelerated widening along these corridors will be designed to tie in with other widening projects that are reaching milestones ahead of schedule.”

The details for this re-sequencing are “are actively being developed and are expected to be available in early 2024. In the meantime, construction on the first two phases will continue to move forward unimpeded,” the release adds.

"Our commitment to this important project has not wavered,” state Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall is quoted. “Carolina Crossroads is one of the largest infrastructure projects in our State's history. First and foremost, we have a responsibility to deliver the project as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. With this new project structure and schedule, we feel confident we are going to improve the overall program.  We are still moving forward on this critical project and making significant progress on improving South Carolina's interstate system." 

DOT also recently announced a rolling closure to finish clean-up for a shorter project in Lexington County.

Clean-up from dam walkway work will close lanes of SC 6

Repairs were recently conducted between June and August to repair the walkway across the Lake Murray Dam after inspections revealed structural issues with the dam. Though these issues impacted the walkway, they were never considered a safety concern when it came to the integrity of the dam itself.

“To complete the clean-up phase of the work on the dam walkway, DOT implemented a rolling lane closure of the eastbound, outside travel lane of S.C. Highway 6 starting Oct. 31,” a release states. “Weather permitting, the rolling lane closure between Irmo and Lexington will take place between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31. The closure will allow crews to perform the final cleanup following repairs to the walkway.”

“A rolling lane closure means that the location of the lane closure will shift throughout the day as work progresses, beginning on the Irmo side of the walkway and continuing to the Lexington side,” the release continues. “During the rolling lane closure, vehicle traffic will be restricted to one lane for drivers traveling eastbound from Irmo to Lexington. The walkway will remain open and safe for pedestrian traffic.”

LJ’s Par & Grill reopens bar after license suspension

A local bar and driving range has reopened the drinking side of the business after a two-week suspension of its liquor license.

LJ’s Par & Grill at 381 Pilgrim Church Rd. in Lexington closed its restaurant and bar Oct. 16 and reopened Oct. 27 in accordance with the suspension, it posted to Facbook

The restaurant posted that it was cited for three violations across a 30-day period, which triggered the suspension. Per the state Department of Revenue’s online database, LJ’s liquor license is currently in good standing.

“These violations were for serving underage accomplices directed by undercover SLED agent,” reads an Oct. 14 post attributed to owner Jim Thompson. “These acts were not done intentionally nor maliciously, they were in fact honest mistakes made by three different individuals tending bar. However, the S.C. Department of Revenue and [the state judiciary system] view these violations as punishable by suspension of ABL licenses. As a result of the closure LJ's Management has decided to close the entire restaurant.

“LJ's has implemented procedures, classes, DL check devices to prevent such violations in the future. We are using this time to reset & improve the overall experience at LJ's. Thank you for your continued support & we look forward to serving you in the future.”

Local marching bands compete for Lower State, state championships

Local high school marching bands have been involved in state competitions lately, with some good results.

Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville both won Lower State championships Oct. 21, taking top honors in 3A and 1A respectively.

Irmo (which finished fifth), Airport (eighth), Brookland-Cayce (ninth) and Swansea (10th) also competed at the Lower State Championshisp in 3A. 

Gilbert and Batesburg-Leesville both finished sixth in their respective state championsihps Oct. 28.

Chapin finished second in 4A Lower State Oct. 21, where Dutch Fork (fourth) also competed. Pelion finished second in 2A.

White Knoll, River Bluff and Lexington are scheduled to compete Nov. 4 at Colleton County High School in the 5A State Championships.


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