"Imagine refinishing all of the hardwood floors in your house, while still living in it. That's very similar to what we are doing during the reconstruction of I-385."
"Imagine refinishing all of the hardwood floors in your house, while still living
in it. That's very similar to what we are doing during the reconstruction of I-385."
This statement is frequently made by Area Manager Randy Green as he addresses community groups interested in their project. Green is a member of the SCDOT Construction Resource Managers (CRM-West) team, responsible for providing information to the media and community about the department's accelerated projects in upstate South Carolina. I-385 is currently one of the largest components of a program of accelerated highway improvements, which SCDOT refers to as the "27 in 7 Program." This program will provide in just seven years what would normally take 27 years to plan and construct through traditional means.
The I-385 Improvements Project is widening 5.8 miles of interstate between I-85 and downtown Greenville, S.C. Serving an urban corridor, including nearby major corporations such as Michelin Tire and BMW, I-385 averages more than 60,000 vehicles per day. Engineers are expecting a 50% increase to over 92,000 by 2020. By adding more lanes and upgrading the interchanges, SCDOT will provide the needed capacity for I-385 to operate more safely and efficiently.
The interstate will be widened from four to six lanes, and in some places to eight. Eight bridges are being replaced or improved, and interchange ramps and intersecting streets are being upgraded. The most noticeable changes will occur at the Haywood Road, Pleasantburg Drive, and Laurens Road/Stone Ave. interchanges.
Auxiliary lanes will be added to the outside of I-385 between I-85 and Roper Mountain Road, and between Haywood Road and Pleasantburg Drive. Motorists traveling between these interchanges may stay in the auxiliary lane, not forced to merge with traffic in the through lanes. The widening project also includes the installation of double concrete median barriers to prevent crossover collisions, and to provide for a landscaping planter, enhancements to the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) and new permanent electronic message boards.
Upstate GRID, part of the South Carolina State Infrastructure Bank (SIB), is making all of this possible by financing the $132.5 million project. Design began in late 1998; construction in May 2001. Blythe Construction Inc., a Hubbard Group company, plans completion by the end of 2004. TranSystems Corp. and Day Wilburn Associates provided design services for the roadway and bridges and for the ITS, respectively.
For more on the story, read the July issue of ROADS & BRIDGES.