New I-26 interchange gets public introduction

Construction crews work on the drainage system at Future Road and Palmetto Commerce Parkway last fall. On Sept. 3, a public introduction to plans for the Palmetto Commerce Interchange connecting Interstate 26 and the parkway is planned for 6-8 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church.

The public will get a peek at plans for a new Interstate 26 interchange on Sept. 3.

Plans call for it to be built on I-26 somewhere between University Boulevard and Ashley Phosphate Road.

Exactly where on the more than 3-mile stretch of interstate the project will be located has not been announced.

"That will be part of the public process, study and design phases, and approval will be required by the Federal Highway Administration," said county spokesman Shawn Smetana.

The "public introduction meeting" for the Palmetto Commerce Interchange will be from 6-8 p.m. at Northside Baptist Church, 7800 Northside Drive.

There, at 6:30 p.m., officials will give an overview of alternatives being studied and potential impacts. Those attending will have a chance to meet one-on-one with project team members and see exhibits offering details. They will be allowed to submit written comments.

The project, intended to improve traffic flow and enhance economic development, will provide a new westerly connection to Palmetto Commerce Parkway, Future Drive and Northside Drive. It also provides access for development of about 1,000 acres of adjacent property.

When completed, the interchange is expected to improve safety and serve as a direct route for workers traveling to Palmetto Commerce Park.

"The purpose of the project is to provide a connection from I-26 to a new network of roads between Ladson Road and Ashley Phosphate Road in order to relieve major traffic," the county said.

The preliminary design process for the new interchange started last fall. Engineers, surveyors, scientists and other specialists are gathering data, conducting surveys and analyzing project information.

Construction is forecast to begin in late 2016 and be completed in late 2018.

More as yet unscheduled public meetings on the project will be held, the county said.

Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711.