COLUMBIA, S.C. — The SCDOT Carolina Crossroads project team took questions and listened to concerns from the community at a Tuesday night meeting about the ongoing construction work on Malfunction Junction.
Construction on Malfunction Junction started on November 8, 2021, with Phase One still ongoing and Phase Two now underway.
Columbia driver, Cassie Barber says Malfunction Junction has been a problem in need of solving for years.
"It really does frustrate people a lot," Barber said. "It can be kind of dangerous because people are switching lanes and weaving all over."
SCDOT says the nightmare intersection is now being addressed with Phase Two.
"This set of roadways is used for commerce, and every day drivers and they all meet in one singular pinch point where three interstates meet, and making improvements is a challenge," said Project Manager, Brian Klauk. "What we're doing with this project and Carolina Crossroads at large, is untying the knot and allowing people to get where they need to go with the least disruption possible."
Phase One of the Carolina Crossroads project is now nearing completion.
Phase Two of the project is also underway, and will improve the Broad River Road interchange at I-20 to make it easier to get on and off the interstate.
This phase also removes the shared ramp with Garner Lane to eliminate possible wrong-way driving on the eastbound entrance ramp to I-20.
Finally, Phase Two will also improve I-20 westbound access to I-26 westbound in order minimize congestion from vehicles changing interstates.
Melissa Sprouse Browne says she is looking forward to seeing results from the latest construction, but also hopes there are some beautifying efforts by DOT as well.
"They said they are going to plant grass along the embankment where they took out the trees in front of my neighborhood, so I'm hoping they put more thought towards beatification as the project continues," Browne explained. "We desperately need better traffic flow in the Midlands, it is a very difficult thing to get from one side of town to the other."
Phase Two hopes to improve safety, congestion, and interchanges along I-20 and I-26 by adding three new bridges at the broad river road interchange as well as a new collector distributor ramp from I-20 westbound to I-26 westbound.
Completion for this phase is scheduled for 2025. With the entire project not expected to be finished until sometime in 2029. The Carolina Crossroads project has a total of five phases. Phase Three is in preliminary planning right now, and will not begin until 2024.