The Midlands Connection Project
Retaining wall panels are being placed for the construction of the new roundabout at the intersection of Crooked Creek Road and Columbia Ave. Studies have shown that roundabouts are safer than traditional stop sign or traffic signal controlled intersections.
Catch basins are designed to connect the drainage systems and route the stormwater to an outlet. Here crews are connecting perpendicular lines using a precast catch basin.
Concrete crews are placing the expressway gutter adjacent to the shoulder of the road. The gutters will channel water from the roadway to an inlet or drainage ditch.
Storm drainage is installed using coarse aggregate for bedding. The bedding is wrapped in geotextile fabric to create a stable pipe trench.
Working in trenches can be dangerous. Crews follow proper safety protocols to ensure a safe working environment.
The construction of the new ramps for Exit 91 is underway. After the soil is graded and compacted, a layer of macadam base stone is added as part of the pavement design.
Work is progressing in Segment 2 in the median. The next phase will be to shift the eastbound traffic onto newly constructed temporary pavement in the median to facilitate construction of the future eastbound lanes.
The grade of the future lanes is lowered by excavating the soil. Excavated material is hauled to areas of the project that need embankments to raise the grade. This is called balancing of the earthwork materials.
Crews have completed all the retaining walls at the bridges. The last step is to place the cap pieces on this wall.
This photo shows the progress on the interchange at Exit 85 in Little Mountain. The new bridge and all four of the new ramp connections have been completed.
This photo shows progress on the new interchange at Exit 91 in Chapin. The new loop ramp will eliminate left turns for traffic coming from Columbia to Chapin. Check out the plan and rendering found here to see the final configurations.
This photo shows the recently opened new location of Columbia Ave at Exit 91. Crews are working to tie in the new ramps to connect to I-26.
Work has been completed at the overpass bridge on Mount Vernon Road. This view shows the newly opened road and realigned side roads.
This photo shows the progress on the interchange at Exit 97, Broad River Road. Check out our video of the diverging diamond to see how it will function when complete.
This photo shows the recently opened overpass at Koon Road and the widening of I-26 from 4 to 8 lanes. Traffic is currently located on the two inside lanes, but eventually will have four lanes in each direction from Exit 97 to 101.
Crews are preparing the reinforcing steel for one of the box culvert extensions in Segment 2. Of the thirty-three new culverts or culvert extensions, thirty are substantially complete!
Crews are preparing embankment for the new off ramp at Exit 91 eastbound. Installation of drain pipes and utility connections are completed as the work progresses.
This picture shows the beams for the new overpass bridge at Exit 91. These beams were manufactured in Wilmington, North Carolina. Each beam is 45” tall and 86’ long.
Crews continue to make progress in the median of Segment 3. Here the median barrier wall is being constructed in stages to accommodate the differences in elevation between the Eastbound and Westbound lanes. The earthwork must be completed on the high side of the wall before the top level of the concrete barrier can be placed.
Crews in Segment 1 are removing the formwork for a concrete footing that will be the base for a future overhead sign structure. Planning and coordination are key elements in highway construction.
Care is taken to preserve environmental features during construction. Multiple erosion control measures including temporary seeding, silt fence, and rock checks are deployed to contain runoff.
Reinforced concrete pipe is used to collect storm water. The Midlands Connection project will use over 80,000 linear feet of concrete pipe produced right here in South Carolina!
New ramps of concrete pavement are included at each of the interchanges. This ramp will be the future I-26 Westbound on-ramp at Exit 91 in Chapin.
Much progress has been made on the I-26 Westbound sound barrier wall. The concrete panels are dropped into place between two steel I-beams that are set in a solid concrete foundation. Some sections of the wall reach 30’ high!
The contractor utilizes a dual lane paver to pave two lanes at a time. On a good day, over 2,000 CY of concrete can be placed. That’s more than 200 dump truck loads!
The Contractor is constructing temporary walls to prepare for the next phase of construction in Segment 2. Westbound traffic will be shifted to the outside to allow construction in the median.
The contractor uses rock called “rip rap” to stabilize the slopes and to trap eroded sediment within the project limits.
The contractor has started to place the reinforcing steel on the bridge deck of the new bridge on Mount Vernon Church Road over I-26. Over 69,000 lbs of steel will be placed in this bridge deck before concrete can be placed.
There are over 20 box culverts that run underneath I-26. Each of these culverts has to be extended to accommodate the roadway widening. Here workers are placing reinforcing steel for one of the extensions.
Crews continue to make progress on the median construction in Segment 3 of the project. Soils are placed to fill in the old ditches and raise the grade for the new widened roadway.
At Exit 97, crews continue placing and compacting soils to construct the embankments for the new on and off ramps. Renderings of the new interchange can be seen here: MidlandsConnection_Exit97_Plan-Rendering.pdf (scdotmidlandsconnection.com)
The new bridge over I-26 at Columbia Avenue is under construction. Here crews are forming up the end bent cap on the Eastbound side of the interstate.
This photo shows construction of the retaining wall on the eastbound side of the I-26 for the future Columbia Avenue overpass at Exit 91. Panels for the wall are secured in place with metal straps that are encased in compacted backfill.
This photo shows the earthwork crews grading and compacting the soils in Segment 2. When earthwork is completed in this area, the sound barrier wall can be erected to reduce the highway noise.
In this photo, crews are working on the Koon Road overpass bridge MSE wall on the Eastbound side. This is located in segment 1 of construction.
This overhead view of the new interchange at Exit 91 (Columbia Avenue) shows the progress on the new overpass bridge. The next major phase of construction will be opening a new temporary exit ramp for the eastbound traffic to make room to construct the other half of the bridge. Check out our the Construction Announcementstab or social media for the latest construction schedule updates.
At Exit 97, work has begun on the new westbound on ramp behind the Food Lion shopping center. This photo shows the construction equipment used for compacting the earthen fill material. The next major phase of construction at Exit 97 will be to shift traffic onto the newly constructed bridge to demo the old bridge. Check out our the Construction Announcements tab or social media for the latest construction schedule updates.
Crews are constructing the retaining wall at the Koon Road overpass. Select backfill material is used to ensure the integrity of the wall. Water is added to obtain the optimum moisture content while compacting the material. For information regarding the opening of Koon Road, check out our the Detours & Closures tab or social media.
This photo shows the median area on I-26 between Shady Grove Road and Broad River Road. Traffic has been shifted to the outside on the Westbound side and will soon be shifted outside on the EB side to allow the maximum amount of space to construct the new pavement in the median of this segment. Learn more about the project segments at SCDOT Midlands Connection.
Trucking is a major part of highway construction. Dump trucks are utilized around the clock to haul dirt, asphalt and concrete. SCDOT reminds the public to please use caution while driving through work zones.
In this photo, the contractor utilizes state of the art surveying equipment to automate the fine grading operation along I-26 near Shady Grove Road.
In this photo, the realignment of Columbia Avenue over the I-26 can be seen in the foreground. The old alignment and overpass can be seen in the background. Check out the rendering of the new interchange online at MidlandsConnection_Exit91_Plan-Rendering.pdf (scdotmidlandsconnection.com)
Work on the new location for Exit 91 is underway. This photo shows the new alignment of Columbia Avenue and the future ramps to I-26 westbound.
This photo shows the contractor preparing the base for future travel lanes by spreading a layer of cement that is mixed with soil to prepare a solid surface for the pavement structure. This will allow traffic to be shifted to the outside as a part of the staged interstate widening. Upcoming traffic shifts are planned on the westbound lanes between Koon Road and Exit 97.
The Koon Road overpass has been demolished, utility relocations are complete, and the new bridge is under construction. The new bridge is scheduled to be open in December 2022.
Widening the roadway along I-26 Westbound in Segment 1 of the project. Trucks line up to haul material from the cut sections to the fill sections along the corridor. The widening will allow for four travel lanes in each direction!
In Segment 2, work has begun on the new location of Exit 91 (Columbia Ave). The contractor is building the roadway on the new alignment, and work has begun on the center support of the new bridge/overpass.
Workers are laying out the cap for the center support of the new overpass at Exit 97 (Broad River Road). The new bridge will be over 94’ wide to accommodate future traffic volumes!
Widening the roadway along I-26 Westbound in Segment 1 of the project. New fill dirt is place and compacted using “sheepsfoot rollers”. This equipment ensures a solid foundation for the future travel lanes.
Men and equipment placing backfill for the retaining wall at the SC-202/Exit 85 overpass. Steel piles that will support the future bridge are protected with spiral ribbed steel cans during the placement of the select backfill material.
Excavation for the future I-26 Westbound on-ramp at Exit 85/SC-202. Segment 3 of construction has over 1 million cubic yards of excavation and embankment to complete the widening of I-26 and side road improvements.
Concrete is poured for a new box culvert under the future I-26 Eastbound on-ramp at Exit 85/SC-202. To date, almost 1,000 cubic yards of concrete has been placed for new culverts and culvert extensions.