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Project to fix 'Malfunction Junction' in Columbia for good now underway

More than 134,000 drivers use the I-20, I-26, I-126 corridor daily and now plans are underway to help relieve some of the heavy traffic.

ST ANDREWS, S.C. — Groundbreaking for the Carolina Crossroad Project (CCP) from the SC Department of Transportation began on Monday. 

The projects aim is to rebuild portions of the I-20, I-26, I-126 corridor, also known as the Malfunction Junction.  

The highway can take drivers from Columbia to different parts of the state like Spartanburg, Charleston, and Florence. According to SCDOT, 134 thousand vehicles drive on  Malfunction Junction, each day. 

“We get to say goodbye to Malfunction Junction," said Joe Wilson, Representative, SC. "This is really significant because this is the most widely traveled corridor in all of South Carolina."

The $1.7 billion project is broken up into 5 different phases, spanning 14 miles long. The CCP will provide a safer and more modern highway system for drivers. 

The new routes will save drivers more than 100 hours each year of sitting in traffic. 

"That work schedule start within the next two weeks," said Christy Hall, Secretary of DOT. "And then over the next two years, another big chunk of project two more years, another big chunk, eventually to where we got the entire 14 mile corridor into constructions."

Hall said the project is designed to "be able to continue to serve the growing demands of the state decades into the future."

One driver who wished to remain anonymous said "There will always be traffic. I have been living here for about 31 years, nothing is going to change."

Some drivers said they are concerned for more traffic while construction is happening. 

"Traffic is definitely crazy, but what can we do about it," said Shakina Williams, Commuter. "We’re just trying to get through it."

 Williams commutes to work everyday on Malfunction Junction. She said going to work isn't the problem, it's going home. 

"Getting off at 7:30, it’s definitely backed up, and I’ve gotten where I have to take another route to avoid going that way because it takes so long," said Shakina Williams, commuter.

Corinthea Stack said Malfunction Junction needs to be removed and it was a waste of money when it was built. 

"It’s just a dysfunctional place that they put in the middle of the road," Stack said.

He said added traffic with construction is temporary, and hopes the project will help traffic flow once it's complete. 

"The sad fact is in order to bring convenience sometimes you have to do endure some inconvenience," Stack said. "I would much rather endure the inconvenience now than to keep risking the possibility of accidents and things that are always there."

Secretary Hall said crews will work over night when traffic is low, and will try to keep the same amount of lanes open during the project as before and after they started. 

"We look at traffic control, that's part of our overall project," Hall said. "We'll do a lot of construction at night, when traffic is at it's lower levels. We'll also do a lot of work behind barriers."

Hall said the project is expected to be complete by 2029. 

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