CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Drivers traveling between Summerville and Charleston during rush hour are no strangers to the stop-and-go traffic on Interstate 26 due to the ongoing road construction near Ashley Phosphate Road.
The construction project has frustrated drivers for years, but when finished, three new driving lanes will be available to drivers on both sides of I-26. The additional lanes will improve traffic flow and make the stretch of interstate between I-526 and Ashley Phosphate Road safer.
I-26 was built in the mid 1960's to the standard of the period and projected traffic flow. Population growth in the Lowcountry and development in the corridor have made the old road obsolete necessitating the current expansion project.
One major aspect of the $66 million project includes taking two loops out of the clover leaf exit ramps at the Aviation Avenue exit. Instead of having exits 211 A and B, there will be just one exit in each direction. Now that work on the Remount Road exit is wrapping up, crews will work to complete the Aviation Avenue exits.
This dangerous stretch of road has gotten more so with additional traffic and high speeds according to work crews. They say drivers have not been slowing down in the work zone and estimate motorists have been traveling 60-80 miles per hour, and in one instance, 114 miles per hour.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol has stepped up patrols in the area, but according to workers, hundreds of accidents have occurred and many traffic citations have been written.
The project began in August 2008 and is scheduled to be completed by the Summer of 2010.