Carolina Crossroads Corridor Improvements EIS

Carolina Crossroads

Carolina Crossroads Corridor Improvements EIS

Quickly and Thoroughly Engaging the Public on a High-Profile Environmental Impact Statement

Located in the heart of South Carolina, the I-20/26/126 corridor is the crossroads of the state economy and the major hub for the Midlands’ commuters, travelers and commerce. In addition to being a main route in and out of Columbia, I-26 is a thoroughfare for travelers headed to the coast and mountains and a major cargo route between Lowcountry ports and Upstate manufacturers. Last improved in the 1980s, the I-20/26/126 corridor does not meet current traffic demands and had earned the nickname “Malfunction Junction." Finding a solution has become the state’s top interstate priority.

As the prime consultant, HDR worked with South Carolina Department of Transportation to complete alternatives development, environmental analysis and documentation, public and stakeholder engagement, and preliminary design on the $1.6 billion project.

Following extensive traffic, environmental and engineering analysis, an option was selected to make travel safer and easier for drivers through 2040. The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision were completed in less than four years, well below the national average for the industry.

Groundbreaking Stakeholder Outreach

The unprecedented quantity of community and stakeholder outreach needed for the project included dedicated stakeholder advisory committees, a project website with interactive route mapping, pop-up events, social media updates, live social media videos and a video library for related environmental topics. The groundbreaking outreach program implemented to support the EIS set a new standard for SCDOT’s public involvement and included the following:

  • Three public hearings, held within an eight-hour open-house meeting, provided the opportunity to avoid “Malfunction Junction” rush hour and attend at the most convenient time.
  • Separate ballrooms within the conference hall were used to maintain control of the crowd while still allowing one-on-one engagement.
  • A rolling video presentation provided a project overview and general update in a separate room for meeting attendees before they entered the main public meeting room.
  • The use of smart screens allowed project team members to zoom in on areas of this 14-mile corridor, and follow specific, highlighted routes from any location in the corridor to another.
  • Interactive stations with project team members were set up to address right-of-way questions, the EIS, noise barriers and mitigation commitments.
  • Implemented an on-demand public meeting that could be translated into any language.
  • The HDR team developed an executive summary magazine in an easy-to-read, graphically driven format, supported by 700 pages of technical information and 16 appendices on a USB business card.

As the project continues, HDR will do design-build procurement support, design review, complete USACE permitting and manage all construction communications with the public.

Carolina Crossroads