I-85 ‘chutes’ removed in Cherokee County, interstate widening project continues

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CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Cherokee County Coroner said Tuesday is a safer day because the chutes he deemed as ‘death traps’ on Interstate 85 are no more.

Angela Bolin loves the land she grew up on in Cherokee County but not what’s been happening across the street, or the road leading up to her home.

“There has been a lot of accidents, people killed,” said Cherokee County Resident, Angela Bolin.

She and her husband have had to learn new routes to get around.

“We go around the back roads if we have to go to Spartanburg or Greenville,” Bolin explained.

Bolin is doing what she can to avoid the interstate across the street and at one time, the concrete barriers laid in the middle of it, called the chutes.

As of Tuesday morning, those are no more. SCDOT leaders vowed to take them down following a chain reaction crash that killed three people and injured others in the chutes near mile marker 90 in July.

But the construction on this stretch of road remains.

“If you got stuck in that chute, you could be there for hours and it would back up all the way to North Carolina,” said frequent driver on Interstate 85 in Cherokee County, Michelle Berrier.

Frequent travelers on this part of the interstate like Michelle Berrier think having the chutes gone will be safer.

“Around five o’clock, don’t even get me started on it, it’s ridiculous. There is no room for error if someone has a flat tire and needs to get off,” said Spencer Moravec who drives to Gaffney from Greenville weekly.

But other drivers like Spencer Moravec are over this interstate widening project.

“It seems like construction is really slow because how long has it been going on now? Over a year at this point,” Moravec said.

However, he still has a least a year to go.

“For the work between mile markers 98 to 106 in Cherokee County, we expect the majority of the widening to be completed and open to the public by the end of next year (2022) with some final punch list items possibly extending into early 2023.

Note: “punch list” items are small finishing items that would not require detours, etc.

For the work between mile markers 77 to 98 in Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties, we expect the majority of the widening to be completed and open to the public by the end of 2024.”

South Carolina Department of Transportation

As for Bolin, she believes the construction is necessary to keep up with an increase in traffic, but is counting down the days when it’s all said and done.

“We just look forward to when it’s finished, we know it’s going to be nice,” Bolin said.

SCDOT leaders said the removal of these chutes comes two weeks ahead of schedule. They’re still asking people who drive through that area to slow down and pay attention.

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