After hearing some concerns about plans to widen Interstate 26 through Calhoun County, Rep. Russell Ott has set up meeting between the S.C. Department of Transportation and residents.

“We want to make sure everyone is on the same page,” the St. Matthews Democrat said.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 12, at Beulah United Methodist Church, which is located at 1577 Old State Road.

SCDOT held a public meeting about the widening on Sept. 23 in St. Matthews.

Afterward, some individuals called Ott expressing concerns about the plan, he said. Ott also said there may have been some miscommunication about the plans.

Concerns have primarily come from the Sandy Run community around Exit 129, and also around Exit 136, about the extent of the SCDOT’s plans and the impact on property, Ott said.

Ott is hoping the meeting will help alleviate concerns of property owners at the two exits.

“We needed this to happen for a very long time,” Ott said about the I-26 widening. “I think the interchange at Exit 129 has been a problem for a long time.”

“The off-ramp yields into three different pinch points with Branham Branch Road, Glowworm and Highway 21,” Ott continued. “It has been dangerous. I am very glad the proposed changes are on paper.”

The state is planning to widen I-26 from south of Exit 125 at Old Sandy Run Road to the Caw Caw Road interchange at Exit 136.

The interstate will be widened from the current four lanes to six lanes.

The work will include the reconstruction of the interchanges along the path to a diamond design.

Work on the $320 million project will begin in late summer of 2023 and will take about three to four years to complete.

In addition to the widening of the interstate, the project will replace three overpasses over I-26 and two interchange bridges at 129 and 136.

Interchanges will be reconstructed to improve the angles. SCDOT says there will be safer ramps and intersection sight distances will be improved.

The bridges will also have wider shoulders, helping to improve visibility at intersections, according to SCDOT.

The project will be funded through the 10-year gas tax increase program, the Rural Interstate Freight program and federal funds.

The work will largely be done within existing right-of-ways. The department will need to buy some right-of-ways from about 46 tracts. They will be mainly at the interchanges. No home displacements are planned.

The next section of I-26 to be widened runs from Exit 136 to Exit 145, which will begin in summer or winter of 2025. The widening is a part of a larger plan to eventually widen the interstate from Charleston to Columbia.

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