85/385 Interchange works gets underway

Published on Friday, February 5, 2016

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85/385 Interchange works gets underway
The second largest transportation project in South Carolina history started at the interchange of Interstates 85 and 385 Friday.

The 85-385 Gateway Project will transform the Upstate’s driving experience as it not only revamps the this traffic-laden interchange, but makes much needed additions to the overall regional transit structure, said Christy Hall, Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

“This project is more than just adding and rebuilding bridges and roads,” Hall said. “This is about making the highways of the Upstate safer and easier to navigate. This interchange is vital for the continued growth of the Upstate and South Carolina.”

As part of Friday’s groundbreaking, the SCDOT released new images of the finished project that includes flyover ramps (a first for the region) and bridges crisscrossing over and under each other in an intricate pattern.

The 85-385 Gateway Project is utilizing a design-build contract which will require participating companies to design, obtain permits, acquire right-of-way, coordinate utility relocation, and construct the new interchange; all under the oversight of SCDOT and FHWA.

While the interchange may be the most visible part of the $231 million project, the project scope will be much larger by the time work completes in spring 2019, Hall said.

Additional improvements include:

• The extension of the 4th auxiliary lane on I-85 northbound and the addition of another lane southbound between I-385 and Pelham Road. This means the road will be four lanes wide between these two exits.

• The widening of I-385 from four-lanes to six-lanes between Butler Road to Roper Mountain Road.

• The construction of new interchange bridges, including two flyovers that will replace the existing loop ramps that tie I-85 from and to I-385.

• The reconstruction and enhancement of the traffic signal system on Woodruff Road between Ketron Court and Highway 14. Also, flood warning signs will be added on I-85 near Rocky Creek.

• The construction of additional turn lanes and reconstruction of 3 intersections on Woodruff Road between I-85 and I-385.  

The project is being financed in part with funding from Act 98 of 2013, which provided the SCDOT with additional funding for bridge, resurfacing and mainline interstate projects. Additional funding is being provided by the Federal Interstate Improvement Program and Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study Committee (GPATS).

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