Act 40 provided much needed recurring revenues for South Carolina’s roads and bridges. Each year, as this new funding is phased in, it will be used to tackle deferred maintenance and safety needs across the state. The state has laid out a 10-year plan to address the areas of greatest need, focusing on pavement conditions, bridges, rural road safety, and interstates.
The department aims to double the resurfacing program. SCDOT aims to improve poor pavement conditions and eradicate countless potholes on interstates as well as the major routes that connect our cities, towns, and secondary roads. $700 million will be spent over the next ten years to improve the quality of pavements; however, it will take roughly 20-21 years before the vast majority of pavements are in good shape across the state. (Remember, 80% of the state’s pavements are in need of repair and it would cost $11 billion to get all pavements in the system to good condition.)
DOT plans to replace 465 bridges over the next ten years, many of which are load-restricted and cannot be used by school buses or larger trucks. An average of $151 million will be spent on bridges annually. ($114.5 million in spending on structurally deficient bridges and $36.5 million would be spent on load restricted bridges.)
Rural Road Safety Program
South Carolina has the highest rural road fatality rate in the nation. As such, the new program uses targeted data to identify and implement needed safety features on 1,000 miles of the state’s deadliest roads. The types of safety improvements will vary and will be designed specifically for each road. They include rumble strips, wider and brighter pavement markings, brighter signs, high-friction surface treatments, wider/paved shoulders, improved clear zones, guardrails, cable barriers, eliminating vertical drop-offs along pavement edges and beveling of driveway pipes.
Using a “Fix it First” approach, SCDOT is currently working to improve 140 miles of existing interstate highways. As the revenue grows, the agency will be able to address additional miles. After the tax credit sunsets in 2022, the following areas of rural interstates have been identified as top priorities for capacity improvements through the Rural Interstate Freight Network Mobility Improvement Program.
- I-26 – Exit 125 to Exit 169 (43 miles)
- I-95 – Georgia Line to Exit 33 (33 miles)
- I-26 – Exit 169 to Exit 187 (18 miles)
- I-85 – Georgia Line to Exit I9 (19 miles)
- I-77 – Exit 65 to Exit 77 (12 miles)