Local

November 29, 2012

Asphalt shortage halts opening of I-20 lane in Columbia

A shortage of asphalt delayed the re-opening of a lane along I-20 early Thursday, causing a headache for morning commuters in Northeast Richland.

A shortage of asphalt delayed the re-opening of a lane along I-20 early Thursday, causing a headache for morning commuters in Northeast Richland.

Thad Brunson, district engineering administrator for the S.C. Department of Transportation, said the problem occurred on I-20 westbound, near Alpine Road.

Crews had taken up old asphalt along about a half-mile of the emergency lane, leaving a 10-inch drop-off at the edge of the road, Brunson said. About 2 a.m., the asphalt plant in Sumter providing replacement material broke down, leaving crews unable to re-open the lane by the required 6 a.m.

He said the traffic tie-up was “significant” for those heading into town, before the problem was resolved at 8:45 a.m., Brunson said.

“Any backup is not acceptable, but it was something that couldn’t be avoided,” Brunson said.

The S.C. DOT is widening 6.7 miles of I-20, from I-77 to Spears Creek Road. Lanes are being closed overnight to minimize the impact on drivers.

Work began in October and is expected to take two years.

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