The South Carolina Department of Transportation will begin an eight-month project to repair and widen a 15-mile stretch of Interstate 385 starting just past midnight on Monday, January 4.
The project consists of milling some of the existing asphalt interstate and replacing it with approximately 10 inches of high-strength concrete.
An average of 8,000 cars a day that normally pass through Laurens County will have to use another northbound route, according to the transportation department.
Marvin Moss, Executive Director of the Laurens County Development Corporation said that nearly 15 years ago when the highway was changed from US-376 to Interstate 385, all that was done was to change the signs.
Moss says that “after all these years, they are now coming back and bringing I-85 up to true interstate standards.
“Obviously it is going to be somewhat of an inconvenience,” continued Moss, “especially if you’re going toward Greenville. But, the DOT has given a couple alternatives to getting there.”
The primary detour will route motorists up Interstate 26 westbound to Interstate 85 southbound in Spartanburg. Other alternate detour routes are available and motorists are asked to plan their trips around the road work and expected congestion. Traffic traveling southbound on I-385 will not be detoured.
Moss says the area’s trucking industry is preparing for the improvements. “I know that Wal-Mart’s has posture on it has been that it’s going to be an inconvenience, but the safety that will be provided by bringing the interstate up to interstate standards will -over the long haul, be a benefit to their drivers and to the public in general.”
The rehabilitation project begins at the I-385/I-26 interchange and extends north up I-385 for approximately 15 miles.
The flyover bridge that connects I-26 westbound to I-385 northbound will also be replaced within the scope of this project.
“It is going to be somewhat of an inconvenience, but long term, I think we’re going to be a lot better off with a more modern interstate, that meets the standards and it’ll be a lot safer,” says Moss.
Additional information on the project, including detour routes and construction updates, is available at www.i385rehab.com. Project brochures and state maps can be found at the I-26 westbound rest area in Newberry County, the I-85 northbound rest area in Anderson County, and the I-385 rest area in Laurens County. The project also has a highway advisory radio station that can be accessed near the I-26/I-385 interchange on AM1680.