By Robert Kittle

The South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank Board delayed an expected vote Tuesday on several major road projects. Two of the top three of those improvements are in the Upstate.

The top priority on the SCDOT's list of projects is widening and improving the I-85 interchange with I-385 in Greenville.

Number 2 on the list is widening a 5-mile stretch of I-26 outside Columbia, from St. Andrews Road to Broad River Road.

Number 3 is widening 25-miles of I-85 in Greenville and Spartanburg counties, from US 25 to SC 129.

The board was expected to give its final approval to the priority list, but board member Max Metcalf of Greenville moved to put off the vote for a week or two.

Why the delay?

"Well, only to look at those top priorities in the Interstate improvements and the bridge improvements, make sure that we've evaluated fully the ones that are the priorities and that we also have available funding for," Metcalf says. "And then you also heard about the timeframe for the bonds and the revenue from the bonds. How far out will we be able to go? We sure don't want to get into a situation of approving some projects and then having a stopping point, where we can't do it. So we'll evaluate that. We'll probably meet again within the next week or two weeks and probably bring this to some closure."

The state's Joint Bond Review Committee also has to approve the projects, and it plans to meet later this month. It doesn't meet again until December, so if the Infrastructure Bank Board doesn't give its approval this month, the projects could be delayed.

Johnny Edwards, Infrastructure Bank Board member, says, "Why would you delay it a week or two? Because we should know about it. We've been given all the information; we've been given all the paperwork."

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