The increased transportation funding provided by the South Carolina legislature’s passage of the 2017 Roads Bill (Act 40) has allowed South Carolina to move forward with numerous projects to improve safety and accelerate road and bridge repairs, according to a new report released by TRIP.
TRIP says the report, “Moving South Carolina Forward: Providing a Modern, Sustainable Transportation System in the Palmetto State,” examines the condition, use, safety, and efficiency of South Carolina’s surface transportation system, the impact of Act 40, the importance of reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program, and the challenges South Carolina faces to accommodate future transportation growth and sustain adequate funding.
TRIP says the state still faces challenges maintaining its aging system and reliably accommodating growing passenger and freight traffic to serve the needs of the state’s growing economy.
With South Carolina’s population expected to increase to approximately 6.4 million people by 2040 and vehicle travel growing at the fifth highest rate in the nation from 2014 to 2019, the TRIP report finds that congestion is worsening, costing South Carolina drivers a total of $2.1 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel—as much as of $1,165 per driver in some urban areas.
"Congestion needs to be addressed on our urban and rural interstates, such accelerating the widening of I-26 between Charleston and Columbia," SCDOT Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said in a statement. "In addition, congestion and economic development needs must be tackled within communities all across South Carolina."
Since 2018, SCDOT has been able to start approximately 4,000 miles of paving projects statewide, partly due to the additional funding provided by Act 40. According to the TRIP report, 18% of South Carolina’s major locally and state-maintained roads are in poor condition, 25% are in mediocre condition, 18% of major roads in the state are in fair condition, and the remaining 39% are in good condition.
Eight percent of South Carolina’s locally and state-maintained bridges are rated poor/structurally deficient. Since 2018, SCDOT has begun repairs on 211 of the 465 state-maintained bridges that were in poor condition or restricted to carrying lighter weight vehicles and prioritized by SCDOT for repair. Based on current funding, SCDOT anticipates that the number of state-maintained bridges that are either in poor condition or restricted to carrying lighter weight vehicles will increase by 81% by 2040, from 548 to 994.
SOURCE: TRIP / South Carolina DOT