I-26 overpass in West Cola finally taking shape

You can see the roadbed beginning to develop as truckloads of dirt are dumped.

The piles of dirt are being brought in for the shifted road being built. It’s all part of the construction of a new bridge over Interstate 26 on Leaphart Road in West Columbia.


Construction is seen in the background as work ramps up on a new I-26 overpass along Leaphart Road. (Photo by Terry Ward)

Leaphart Road has a heavy traffic volume. It is used as a route to Lexington District Two’s Pineview Elementary School. Buses and cars transport more than 700 students to the school each school day along the busy route.

The work to replace the overpass began in September, and it could take up to two years to complete.

The existing overpass will remain in place while the new structure is being built, said Robert Power, an S.C. Department of Transportation engineer based in West Columbia.

He also said the project is on time, despite recent weather.

“There has been lots of rain lately. But it has not set us back much,” Power said. “We’re on schedule. We have made up lost time on Saturdays.”

He also said his office has gotten inquiries about the construction since it began.

SCDOT will not be constructing exits onto I-26. Power said SCDOT has received that question often, because some of the construction looks like on-ramps to I-26 are being added.

Power also said the new Leaphart Road Bridge over I-26 will have three lanes – two for traffic flow, and a middle turning lane. Currently, there is not a turning lane on the existing overpass, which often backs up with traffic because there are lights at each end.

In addition to a turning lane on Leaphart, a turning lane will be added on the frontage road, at the two intersections of Chris Drive on the east side of the overpass. Turning lanes will also be added on Harbor Drive and Orchard Drive entering Leaphart Road on the west side of the overpass.

Power said the new overpass will have more clearance for vehicles moving under it on I-26.

“It has been hit,” Power said. The last time was in May when the bridge was closed for inspection.

The work on the bridge is being done by Charlotte-based Crowder Construction Co.

SCDOT’s initial cost estimate for the Leaphart Road bridge replacement was $7.8 million.