CHEROKEE CO., SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation announced plans Saturday to remove the construction “chute” on the Interstate 85 widening project in Cherokee and Spartanburg counties.
According to the SCDOT, the agency has directed the construction contractor to remove the chute as quickly as possible in two phases.
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Each phase of removal is expected to take under 90 days.
In the first phase, construction will focus on widening work in southbound lanes between mile markers 81 and 86. Once widening is completed, the chute will be removed in that section.
The second phase will repeat the same work but for the section between mile markers 86 and 91.
SCDOT said that they will negotiate with the contractor next week on the specific timeline for the chute removal.
In addition, SCDOT announced Sunday that the speed limit in the outside southbound lanes has been reduced to 45 miles per hour. The speed limit for the “chute” is now 35 mph.
The speed limit is effective immediately.
The changes come following a crash Thursday afternoon which killed three people and injured six others in the construction chute near mile marker 90.
The Cherokee County Coroner later referred to the chutes as “death traps.”
“I think it’s a death trap, an absolute death trap of a concrete maze,” said Coroner Dennis Fowler. “I am not a traffic engineer, but I don’t think you have to be a traffic engineer to figure out this does not work.”
Hall also said that the State Transport Police will also begin patrolling the area to assist South Carolina Highway Patrol.
South Carolina Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said that “all options are on the table” regarding possible changes to the construction zone.
SCDOT also said that a national work zone safety expert will be brought in to review further safety enhancements.