Bush River Road exit relocation a hot topic at SCDOT’s Carolina Crossroads public hearing

The public hearing was held at the Columbia Conference Center. Photos provided by Sara Still.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation held a public hearing from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Columbia Conference Center Thursday regarding the Carolina Crossroads I-20/26/126 Corridor Project. According to the SCDOT, the main purpose of the hearing was to present and solicit comments on the proposed solution to fix Malfunction Junction, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

Both of the proposed solutions the SCDOT is presenting will include a relocation of the Bush River Road exit at the I-26 interchange. In a pamphlet mailed to residents, the information reads:

“The relocation of this interchange advanced in both alternatives because it eliminates traffic, conflict points, and weaving maneuvers on I-26 between Bush River Road and the I-20/26 interchange, thereby reducing traffic congestion/disruption and improving traffic flow on I-26. In addition, people will have alternative access to destinations along Bush River Road through the improved full access Colonial Life Boulevard interchange with I-126 and at the upgraded interchange of Bush River Road and I-20.”

SkyView Terrace property owner Sara Still attended the meeting. According to Still, many fellow business owners on Bush River Road believe the relocation will cause significant loss of customers to their businesses.

“They feel that the closing of the Bush River Road exit will create a ‘dead zone’ for this area,” she said. “Owners of Schlotzsky’s, City Gas, Comfort Inn, and the 41-year-old staple of the area, The Villa, all got up to make a verbal plea.”

Still voiced concerns that the project will keep some people from stopping in Columbia while driving through. “I was told this was to help tourists and visitors quickly move through Columbia,” Still said. “As the Capital city, we want to be a destination, not a bypass through a face-less city.”

According to the SCDOT, the Corridor Improvement Project is the number one statewide interstate priority for South Carolina. The public has until September 17 to submit comments. Comments may be made at www.SCDOTCarolinaCrossroads.com, or emailed to info@CarolinaCrossroadsSCDOT.com.

Categories: Columbia, Irmo, Lexington County, Richland County