Crowd Gathers To Hear Improvement Plans For I-85/I-385 Corridor -

Crowd Gathers To Hear Improvement Plans For I-85/I-385 Corridor

By Rachel Kent

Mark Maitland-Smith owns a auto service shop right along Interstate-85, and like many others he is all too familiar with how dangerous and congested certain parts of the interstate can get.

"The traffic is horrendous on the interstate and in front of Roper Mountain Road, Maitland-Smith said. “It's hard to get in and out of my business.”

The South Carolina Department of Transportation says the solution lies in fixing the Interstate-385 and I-85 interchange. The proposed DOT construction project will widen the road to four lanes in each direction, adding two more levels of traffic. This will help with the nearly 200,000 cars that pass through this interchange every day.

"It's a lot more traffic than that current design can handle," Tommy Elrod with South Carolina Department of Transportation said.

The DOT says this project plan resembles what's known as “Spaghetti Junction” in Atlanta where I-85 meets Interstate-285. Drivers who know that area worry this project will be just as congested and confusing for you.

"My opinion of “spaghetti junction” is that it's a monument to a civil engineer and not at all functional.” Greenville driver, Scott Turner said. “I don't want it to look like that."

We asked the DOT about what is being done to keep the road safe and simple for you.

"There's a lot less roads coming together here than in Atlanta.,” Elrod said. "I think with proper signage and proper pavement markings, it might take a little bit of getting used to but daily commuters will adjust to it quickly."

This project means three years of construction for you to deal with during your daily commute.

"During the day all of the lanes will be open. Beginning at 8 p.m., there will be lane closures.

“For about three years you can count on a lot of orange barrels and some lanes switching back and forth," Elrod said.

Maitland-Smith says the traffic headache you will face will be worth it in the end.

"It’s going to be a mess for a little while, but it needs to be done," Maitland-Smith said.

The project is estimated to cost around 250 million dollars. It is scheduled to start in 2014 and be done by 2017.

Thursday night was the last public meeting on the project. But you can still e-mail or mail your comments to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, click here.

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