Monday, November 17, 2008

Interchange options

By GENE ZALESKI, T&D Staff ReportMonday, November 17, 2008

As the Jafza South Carolina project in Santee moves forward, officials say a key component of the infrastructure is development of the interchange at U.S. Highway 301 and Interstate 95.

Currently, the interchange south of Santee is considered a “Texas diamond,” though not like the more traditional diamond-shaped interchanges such as Exit 139 on Interstate 26.

Randy Young, S.C. Department of Transportation Midlands regional production engineer, said of the four interchange options looked at by the DOT over the past year, a traditional diamond interchange would be the most likely “modification” for I-95/301.

“We have not narrowed down an exact interchange,” Young said. “It will depend on our continuous traffic report and the traffic data we gather. “A diamond interchange is the one you start with as the simple design.”

Young said there is no time line as to when construction will begin.

“We are still analyzing the schedule,” Young said. “There are a lot of variables that we will review and nail down before we can estimate when construction will start.”

SCDOT had initially identified four design alternatives for the interchange with a cost of between $37.2 million and $56.8 million, depending on the design. A diamond-shaped interchange would fall on the lower cost estimate at approximately $40 million.

Currently, about $9 million – $3.92 million in federal monies, $3 million from SCDOT and the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, as well as $2 million from the Orangeburg County capital project penny sales tax – have been allocated. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says there is more money coming in from the federal government.

About $1 million more is pending in the Senate for 2009. There is nothing yet pending in the House, said Andrew King, Graham’s liaison to the Jafza project.

“Infrastructure needs to be developed. ... That includes roads, water, sewer and the interchange,” Graham said Wednesday during the Orangeburg County Economic Development Summit, noting that rail will also be a key component. “We can’t rely on trucks. Congressman (James) Clyburn is one of the most powerful men in the House in the history of the state. I am trying to do my share in the Senate.”

Graham said funding beyond the $1 million already earmarked in 2009 depends on needs.

“Whatever money we spend here is going to pay off by a factor of many,” he said. “This is the best investment you can make in this part of South Carolina. It will be up to the private sector to develop the property, but we can help with the road, water, sewer and the interchange to make it a place where the company can do business and be successful.”

“Consider us a partner, but a partner that will not get in your way,” Graham told those gathered during the summit’s morning session. “You give us the game plan, tell us where we need to play and we will fulfill our assignment.”

Alternatives under review include a diamond interchange, a partial cloverleaf and two additional partial cloverleaf designs that include fly-overs in two different configurations.

Transportation officials have estimated that $2 million will be needed in the first year for preliminary design work.

Depending on the start date of the actual work and the design chosen, the estimated amount of money needed for following years is roughly $4 million, $13 million, $13 million and $6 million, respectively.

The price of each of the four alternatives includes a short extension of U.S. Highway 301 near Santee.

County economic development officials have cited the need for a reconstructed intersection, not only for the Jafza project, but also because Santee has just opened a new convention center.

Orangeburg County Administrator Bill Clark said options for the interchange are DOT’s decision. All are still under review.

“They will come forward with a series of public hearings and bring that down to the community and show it to everybody and answer questions,” Clark said. “In the interim, we will construct a secondary access road in the property and access the property from the south. We have two options under review for that as well.”

The access road will allow construction crews to move through the area.

No cost estimate or specifics on the options have been determined.

n T&D Staff Writer Gene Zaleski can be reached by e-mail at gzaleski or by phone at 803-533-5551. Discuss this and other stories online at The

No comments: