COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina is about to begin planning for more interstate highway lanes in the eastern part of the state.
The Post and Courier of Charleston reported the state transportation commission voted Thursday to begin planning to widen parts of Interstate 95 and I-26.
The commission did not discuss a timetable for the expansion, expected to cost $3 billion.
The plan calls for adding an additional lane in each direction for 33 miles between U.S. 17 and the Georgia state line.
It also calls for expanding to three lanes in each direction on I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.
The agency said the I-26 work would cost about $1.8 billion. The I-95 work would cost $1.2 billion.
I-95 has at least six lanes throughout Georgia but narrows to four at the South Carolina line. And I-26 currently has six lanes at the outskirts of Columbia and Charleston but four lanes in between.
Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said Thursday’s vote will let the agency begin planning.
“We must start today with identifying how to break these corridors into projects that can be advanced as funding becomes available,” she said.
In announcing its decision, DOT cited the critical movement of freight across the state. This freight program is in addition to the agency’s interstate widening program already at work in certain urban areas.
Hall noted trucking is the primary mode of freight movement within the state, and it’s expected to grow by 60 percent over the next two decades.