The State of South Carolina is divided into Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Councils of Governments (COGs). Northwest Richland County falls within the Columbia Area Transportation Study (COATS) MPO. The COATS MPO is a transportation policy-making organizations made up of representatives from local government and transportation authorities. SCDOT works very closely with this organization on improvements to primary/secondary routes within greater Richland and Lexington Counties.
There is essentially one funding program available that can address widening needs along primary routes such as Broad River Road (US 176) and Dutch Fork Road (US 76). The System Upgrade Program is funding made available by the SCDOT Commission to address MPO and COG priorities such as intersections, road widening, and new location projects. The SCDOT Commission currently allocates $16.7 million in System Upgrade funding to the COATS MPO each year, however, approximately $4.9 million of that is utilized to pay off debt service from a previous bonding program. Therefore, approximately $11.8 million is available each year for Richland and Lexington Counties to address intersection, road widening, or new location projects.
COATS maintains a Long Range Plan that includes a list of ranked and prioritized widening projects in accordance with State Law. That project list, which runs through the year 2035, has 62 projects identified for widening. Of those 62, only the top 18 fall within the cost constrained portion of the plan. Currently there are five sections of roadway along either US 76 or US 176 between Irmo and Chapin identified as a widening need:
#15 Broad River Road from Woodrow Street to US 76 ($12.8 M)
#18 Broad River Road from Woodrow Street to I-26 ($6.8 M)
#22 US 76 from Sid Bickley Road to Three Dog Road ($17.7 M)
#24 US 76 from Twin Gates Road to Three Dog Road ($26.0 M)
#57 US 76 from Murray Lindler Road to Sid Bickley Road ($21.5 M)
To view the complete ranking list of widening projects, go http://centralmidlands.org/2035-long-range-transportation-plan.html and look under the section “Prioritized Project List”.
Richland County also passed a 2012 referendum for a sales tax to fund transportation projects. Currently included on the list is the widening of Broad River Road (US 176/76) from Royal Tower to the Peak Interchange (High Priority Project). You may contact Rob Perry, Richland County Transportation Director, for more details on their program and anticipated schedules.