CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. – More road work is being planned for the Upstate. Several SCDOT projects in our area have been named a top priority for construction funding. That includes a 10 mile stretch of Interstate 85 in Cherokee County.
It’s an all too familiar topic for South Carolina residents – repairing the roads residents like James Bolin are using every day.
“They are terrible – especially the interstate,” said Bolin. “Over time I could see the traffic building and building.”
And that traffic will increase even more on the Cherokee County side of Interstate 85. According to South Carolina Department of Transportation, up to 46,500 vehicles travel on that road per day. That number is expected to exceed 68,000 vehicles by 2040.
“The work we’re doing on the mainline is fairly welcome because we’re at capacity,” said SCDOT Program Manager Bradley Reynolds. “We’re making room for more cars to be able to travel.”
DOT plans to widen I-85 from exit 96-106 to make room for extra travel lanes.
“It’s something that should’ve been done many years ago. It is very deadly out there,” said Mike Patterson. He owns Patterson’s Wrecker Service in Blacksburg, and says the extra room is necessary.
“I’ve been to many, many close calls in the towing business and the sad part is a lot of people get on their cell phones and they’re not paying attention and they see those lights and just.. It can be a deadly situation,’ he said.
Other safety concerns include overpass bridges, plus the interchanges and ramps dot calls ‘inefficient.’
“When you have cars going two directions on the interstate ramp, there’s a potential for the car to go the wrong way on the ramp and enter into the interstate which would be a very bad crash,” said Reynolds.
The $170 million to fund the work isn’t set aside yet, but the project has been named to a priority list along with 4 other DOT projects in the upstate.
“I’ll be glad when it’s getting started and once it’s completed,” said Bolin.
The project is in its early stages and another public input meeting is set for this fall. SCDOT hopes to start work on the road sometime in 2018.