GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is getting an additional $190 million for road projects across the state, and some of those will be right here in the Upstate.
“It’s typically called after August money. What that means is, every state DOT gets an allotment of funds from the federal government. If you are unable to use them, the unused portion of whatever budget you have with the feds, get’s thrown back into a pot,” said Pete Poore, Director of Communications, SCDOT. “That pot is shared among DOT’s like us–who have fully used our allotment and also have more projects ready to go, or programs like our interstate program, things like that,” Poore said.
As the federal government redistributed the funds, Poore said this means a boost for projects that are in the works or in the pipeline.
“We have projects that are in the pipeline, what that means is, they may not be under construction yet, but they’re ready to go. Remember the old term, shovel ready? Well, these projects are shovel-ready. They’ve been designed. They have their permits, right of way purchases if needed, and they are all set to go,” Poore said. “That’s what you need to qualify to get this money like this $190 million.”
No matter where you go in the state, you might see some of the projects already in progress.
“I’d say generally in South Carolina, our roads are subpar compared to the rest of the country. If there’s initiatives to fix the roads I’d support that,” said Ashley Bowers, a Greenville resident.
“Traveling along the I-85 is very difficult right now, especially with the construction. It causes a lot of traffic build up, but it is a very good thing for the infrastructure of the community, so in the long run it will be very good,” said Juliana Guarin, driver. “But currently, it’s kind of annoying,” she said.
Some people also had a lot to say about the stretch of I-85 in Cherokee County.
“It seems like it’s been a lot of construction on it for probably years…a long time, but it’ll be nice to see it get cleared up, one way or the other,” said Danny Bagwell, driver.
Now, the clock is ticking on that pain people are feeling, as the state is getting the additional funding.
“What we intend to do is add those funds to the allotment that we have in the four programs of the 10-year plan,” Poore said.
This funding helps SCDOT deliver on its 10-year strategic plan including:
- Improvements on interstates I-85, I-26 and I-95.
- The replacement and rehabilitation of the I-20 bridge over the Wateree river.
- Safety improvements in every region of the state.
“It’s good. It’s good any kind of help would be good for people that have to get on it every day. It’s much needed,” Bagwell said.
There’s also good news for every county across the Upstate. These funds will be used for rural road safety programs, intersection improvement programs, and then all over the state, in terms of regional projects, that are being prepared to go to construction
Poore said the funding will help the projects that have already been started. He also said it will help the ones that are in the design phase and planning stages.
“Now, there’s additional funding to get to the construction phase and start spending money on the actual work,” he said.
Guarin said it gives her hope for the future.
“Hopefully it will make commutes to places like my swim practice a lot faster than the hour that it takes to get through the traffic,” Guarin said.
Poore said the 10-year plan is already ahead, in terms of goals, targets, and achievements. He said this funding will help with their four programs.
SCDOT released the following in a press release:
“The $190 million August redistribution is a record amount for SCDOT. Historically, SCDOT has received approximately a third of this amount. Due to continuous planning and SCDOT’s robust project pipeline enabled by the General Assembly in its 2017 Roads Bill, South Carolina was well positioned to maximize funds available.
The $190 million in additional federal funding will also require 20 percent in state matching funds. Fortunately, in the FY 2023 state budget, the General Assembly provided SCDOT with $120 million in recurring match money in order to position the SCDOT to go after these additional federal funds as well as to fully draw down all other increased federal highway funds available to South Carolina.”
More information about current projects and progress on the 10-year Plan is available at www.scdot.org.