Work to Begin on 11-Mile Widening of I-26 in South Carolina

Ground has been broken to widen 11 miles of I-26 in South Carolina between Columbia and Charleston.

The four-lane section will be expanded to six lanes; five bridges will be replaced, and the overpasses at exits 129 and 136 will be reconstructed – at an estimated cost of $440 million, according to the S.C. Department of Transportation.

The project is part of a six-year plan to improve the state’s main east-west connector between Columbia and Charleston, which was built in the late 1950s, as well as west to Greenville. The effort includes the Carolina Crossroads projects to rebuild the I-26/I-20/I-126 intersection at Columbia, known locally as Malfunction Junction. Work on it began in 2021. Then in 2023, work began on widening seven miles of I-26 in Dorchester and Berkeley counties between mile markers 187 and 194.

The latest section to be widened is from mile marker 125 to 136 between Gaston and St. Matthews. A groundbreaking celebration was held May 20 to kick off construction. The project is expected to be completed in late 2027.

map of I-26 section to be widened between St. Matthews and Gaston SCThe red line shows the section of I-26 to be widened between St. Matthews and Gaston.SCDOTThe interstate section is the site of frequent traffic jams and crashes. The project will also improve safety, according to SCDOT, by the following measures:

  • Improve geometry of interchanges.
  • Widen paved shoulders.
  • Improve site distance over crest curves.
  • Widen bridge shoulders.
  • Upgrade high-friction surface course.