The state Department of Transportation Commission on Thursday approved making available up to $8.5 million for preliminary engineering studies for Columbias outmoded and hazardous Malfunction Junction interstate intersection.
DOT will now advertise a request for engineering services a process that should result in the hiring of a consulting firm. That firm will then, with the help of DOT staffers, do the necessary studies and designs for construction on what is expected to be a years-long, $400 million project.
The highways where I-20 and I-26 come together have long been among the most dangerous, congested and busiest intestates in South Carolina.
The project now goes forward, said Mark Lester, head of the agencys planning and environmental department. Weve now got the approval we need to begin.
The appropriation will be 80 percent federal funds and 20 percent state funds, all already available to be spent. However, none of the funding sources for the future $400 million project have yet been identified.