South Carolina has a 10-year plan underway to tackle deferred maintenance and safety needs across the state. The plan was initiated in 2017 (following passage of Act 40) and focuses on the areas of greatest need: pavement conditions, bridges, rural road safety, and some interstates.
The state aims to quadruple the resurfacing program which will help improve poor pavement conditions and eradicate countless potholes on interstates as well as the major routes that connect our cities, towns, and secondary roads. State dollars play a critical role in pavement projects, and Act 40 has helped boost the pavement program since 2017.
The state has continued to ramp up investments in pavements and over $700 million will be spent in the upcoming fiscal year to improve the quality of pavements in all 46 counties.
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.
The state is working to replace 500 bridges, many of which are load-restricted and cannot be used by school buses or larger trucks.
Using state and federal dollars, South Carolina will be investing approximately $220 million annually on bridge improvements.
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 1,250 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 interstates. As the revenue grows, the agency will be able to address additional miles.
The following areas of rural interstates have been identified as top priorities for capacity improvements through the Rural Interstate Freight Network Mobility Improvement Program. These projects are contingent on the availability of state funding. With the preventative maintenance tax credit sunsetting in 2022, the dollars that were earmarked for tax credits will be freed up and can be put to work to help fund these long overdue interstate widening projects.
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 19 (19 miles)
I-77 – Exit 65 to Exit 77 (12 miles)
In 2022, the SC legislature allocated approximately $453 million in ARPA allocations to the SCDOT, which will be used to accelerate the widening of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston. They also provided a one-time budget allocation of $133.6 million to accelerate the projects in the pipeline specifically on I-95 beginning at the Georgia border.