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Spartan

Widening I-26

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This article talks about SCDOT's plan to widen I-26 to help relieve congestion. They will widen I-26 to eight lanes from Ashley Phosphate Road to I-526, adding a lane in each direciton in the median. This should be a good project, as rush hour in that area is always crappy.

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Excellent news, Spartan! For certain, this section of I-26 has been in dire need of widening. But why stop there? I think if the SCDOT planned ahead, they would see about widening the rest of I-26 to DT to 8 lanes. It would add fuel to the infill development fire with the Noisette and Magnolia projects. I know they want to shift I-26 in the Neck area, but this widening could go hand-in-hand with that idea. Maybe funding is not ready for that last part of the interstate, yet.

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They are planning to replace the rasied portions of I-26 soon, in coordination with the Magnolia project, so be on the look out for that. I would think they would widen it to 6 lanes. Most of the traffic during rush hour uses the 526 to 26 connection (at least that has been my experience) so 8 lanes going to downtown may not be necessary. Plus, where would they go? The bridge alignment is already complete, so you can't really add lanes there....

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They are planning to replace the rasied portions of I-26 soon, in coordination with the Magnolia project, so be on the look out for that. I would think they would widen it to 6 lanes. Most of the traffic during rush hour uses the 526 to 26 connection (at least that has been my experience) so 8 lanes going to downtown may not be necessary. Plus, where would they go? The bridge alignment is already complete, so you can't really add lanes there....

I don't think the realignment of I-26 is anywhere close to a done deal. Robert Clement has asked that they study the idea, but it is a long way from a certainty. Probably the impetus to further widening of I-26 will be the new port at the Old Navy Base (and that is not a given). All told, I agree that widening to 526 is the appropriate action. Merging from 5 lanes to 3 at Ashley Phoshate creates a 4 mile (minimum) backup every morning.

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Collector/Distributor lanes, as part of the project, will certainly help keep traffic flowing with no weave lanes slowing down the rightmost lanes. To me, thats just as important as adding the 4th travel lane each way.

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It occurs to me that this will be the only completely 8 lane section of highway in the state. Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia each have it in someplaces, but it is a collector/distributor situation in each case.

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They are planning to replace the rasied portions of I-26 soon, in coordination with the Magnolia project, so be on the look out for that. I would think they would widen it to 6 lanes. Most of the traffic during rush hour uses the 526 to 26 connection (at least that has been my experience) so 8 lanes going to downtown may not be necessary. Plus, where would they go? The bridge alignment is already complete, so you can't really add lanes there....

The P & C mentioned in an article earlier last month about the I-26 shifting project that something would have to be done to accomodate "ever increasing" traffic into DT. Remember, the article you posted acknowledges many people who commute from Summerville, Goose Creek, and the north area to downtown. I think it would be a good idea to consider widening the entire interstate up to the new bridge, especially with the densifying projects of Noisette and Magnolia having the interstate running through them.

Part of the Magnolia project entails an urban shopping center equivalent to Mt. Pleasant's Towne Center, and I-26 has to be able to handle the additional traffic that will occur there. In a growing city like Charleston, I believe SCDOT has to consider building for the future, and widening I-26 to 8 lanes all the way to the end of it is doing exactly that.

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My only concern with that is what to do with the extra lanes. They just finished the overpass for 26 and 17, so they most likely wont be adding lanes there anytime in the forseable future.

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It occurs to me that this will be the only completely 8 lane section of highway in the state. Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia each have it in someplaces, but it is a collector/distributor situation in each case.

Don't forget about I-77 from Rock Hill to the state line.

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My only concern with that is what to do with the extra lanes. They just finished the overpass for 26 and 17, so they most likely wont be adding lanes there anytime in the forseable future.

Maybe this article from Clement's website will show what I'm talking about. Regardless if I-26 in the Neck stays the same as it is or lowered and rerouted, it will need to have additional lanes. Check out this quote from the article:

The section runs from the Rutledge Avenue/Mount Pleasant Street exit north to the Spruill Avenue exit. Because of new development and the new Cooper River bridge, traffic volumes are expected to jump from about 65,000 vehicles a day now to about 105,000 a day by 2015. Traffic flow through the Neck will shape its development.

From what people have told me who currently live down there, traffic is already increasing and will probably exceed that projected estimate.

The extra lane could feed onto the Cooper River bridge on-ramp or eventually be a distributor lane onto Morrison Drive or Meeting Street. The additional lane going westbound could come from the bridge off-ramp onto I-26. Regardless, if you look around the new bridge interchanges, you can tell that SCDOT left some things undone or incomplete, and I think it is because they know that they will need to do additional construction soon.

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The problem is that in order to widen that part, it will have to be elevated, and that adds a lot of cost to it. Maybe you are right though. I've not really looked at the area around it too much.

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The problem is that in order to widen that part, it will have to be elevated, and that adds a lot of cost to it. Maybe you are right though. I've not really looked at the area around it too much.

OK, I see your concern now. You're right, the cost of the project would increase as you're building other elevated portions to connect with the already elevated ramps. However, if done in conjunction with re-routing I-26, there won't be a significant cost. I just think it would be foolish for SCDOT to not consider doing it.

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Wow, a year later, and we finally have some news on this. According to the article link below, SCDOT officials have begun studying the addition of two lanes to I-26 between the proposed port access road and I-526, a project that ultimately could cost $300 million. The project has been changed from widening I-26 between I-526 and Ashley Phosphate, as originally posted. Actually, the focus has shifted; however, I believe they need to accomplish widening on both sections.

The project took shape when highway planners realized the traffic impact from a new port terminal. Even McConnell is supporting it. Tony Fallaw, a transportation department program manager, said with the extra truck traffic from the port access road, coupled with traffic from the Magnolia project and other nearby redevelopment efforts, "the interstate would begin to start breaking down, so we wanted to be sure we could accommodate the additional congestion." He suggests that this widening would require intersection improvements at Cosgrove and Dorchester exits.

And it looks like the realignment of I-26 east of the proposed access road is dead. Consultants said that project, which also would have cost about $300 million, wasn't needed now to deal with the extra port traffic, which it said would mostly go west, not east toward DT Charleston. That being said, I would be willing to bet that if they do widen I-26 to the port access road, they will have to just widen it all the way to DT...traffic will increase all around that area.

DOT looks at widening I-26 to handle new traffic from port

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SCDOT at the very least should consider widening I-26 from the port access road to just past the Ashley Phosphate exit. The stretch from Dorchester Rd. to Ashley Phosphate Rd. turns into a parking lot everyday even without the coming development of Magnolia and the port traffic.

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I don't get why they would spend all this money to widen the road, but not go ahead an realign the interstate in the Neck area. I'm glad to see this is moving foreward though.

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I don't get why they would spend all this money to widen the road, but not go ahead an realign the interstate in the Neck area. I'm glad to see this is moving foreward though.

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I'm not sure what the realignment would accomplish. I know Magnolia wants nicer uses (retail/residential/recreation) on the Ashley River side of I-26 with the industrial uses on the Cooper River side. I can see how it makes sense for the developer to advocate the shift, but I don't see the benefit to SCDOT or the public.

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While I feel that the scope of the proposed widening is somewhat shortsighted I look forward to the beginning and completion of the project. It would be nice also if the highway lighting is extended past Montague Ave. towards downtown. This state is rather slack concerning highway lighting. The only properly lit portion of Interstate highway in SC besides the short stretch of I-26 and I-526 going into Daniel Island is this portion of I-85 in Greenville shown below. Also shown below that is the 8 lane portion of I-75 in the Atlanta suburb of Morrow.

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I'm not sure what the realignment would accomplish. I know Magnolia wants nicer uses (retail/residential/recreation) on the Ashley River side of I-26 with the industrial uses on the Cooper River side. I can see how it makes sense for the developer to advocate the shift, but I don't see the benefit to SCDOT or the public.

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^^^^Highway lighting does seem to be a common complaint, one that is not restricted to SC. Georgia and NC also seem to be slow in implementing lighting in their urban areas, especially around Charlotte and Asheville. I'm heartened to hear about the punchouts, I guess it's only a matter of $$ as to why the DOT hasn't installed lighting yet. Personally I enjoy driving the elevated and winding portions of I-26 going downtown. It adds a unique personality to the highway and provides views of downtown and the Cooper River Bridge and I imagine that it probably would be cheaper and quicker (maybe?) to just widen it as is instead of realigning it.

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Highways officials will hold a public hearing next week as part of a proposal to widen about a five-mile section of I-26 that runs though North Charleston and the Charleston Neck area.

Can we say "about time"?

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I would think that lighting would be included with any large scale highway project. That's why Greenville has lighting on 85. By putting up the lights, the workers could work easily at night. It really makes most sense and should save money in the end, I'd think. As a result, they only lit up the most drastic and time consuming part of the expansion, which was the stretch that included the parts that went from 4 lanes to 10 lanes. I'm not sure what Charleston's plans are, but depending on that, some lighting could easily be NEEDED and therefore included. Otherwise chances are probably more slim. :dontknow: But good luck.

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