Located in the heart of South Carolina, the Carolina Crossroads I-20/26/126 Corridor Improvement Project (a.k.a., Malfunction Junction makeover) is the number one interstate improvement priority for the state of South Carolina (https://lnkd.in/euFJQc2). Construction of the Carolina Crossroads project requires unavoidable impacts to waters (of the U.S.) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as regulated by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) evaluated multiple mitigation alternatives to offset aquatic resource impacts. The mitigation option that SCDOT selected has offset impacts through the restoration, enhancement, and protection of more than 80,000 linear feet of stream and the protection of more than 8.6-acres of wetlands. This large-scale and unique mitigation project will also protect more than 2,600 acres of land adjacent to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Belfast Wildlife Management Area, providing future public use and wildlife management benefits.
Wildlands led site identification and acquisition, mitigation plan development, natural channel design, generation of construction documents, and construction oversight of the restoration and enhancement activities. Due to the size of the mitigation project and this project serving as the largest stream mitigation project undertaken by the SCDOT, mitigation development was a collaborative effort among multiple project partners including SCDOT, HDR, Open Space Institute, Wildlands and members of the regulatory community. The size of the project site, and availability of on-site resources, allowed Wildlands to critically evaluate on-site materials and maximize the beneficial re-use of native and natural materials during construction. This practice reduced the client’s cost by reducing material import, maintained native characteristics through the reuse of available materials, and facilitated the primary objective of natural channel design. During construction, Wildlands utilized ArcGIS Online to communicate project status with key stakeholders. The contractor completed construction activities at the mitigation site in early 2022 and Phases 1 and 2 of the Malfunction Junction makeover are underway. Wildlands is currently providing post-construction monitoring services.