New exit lane aims to reduce congestion near Columbia’s Malfunction Junction. Here’s where

The State file photo

Improvements to Columbia’s Malfunction Junction are steadily underway with a new development for travelers on Interstate 20 heading toward Interstate 26 westbound from Broad River Road.

As a part of the multi billion-dollar Carolina Crossroads project — a state infrastructure project aiming to improve the notoriously congested area known as Malfunction Junction, where Interstates 26 and 20 meet just north of Columbia — the SCDOT announced the opening of a new exit lane for traffic leading toward Interstate 26 westbound. The lane stretches 1,500 feet and is expected to help ease congestion for travelers continuing west on Interstate 20, according to a SCDOT news release.

“We understand the frustration that can come with congested roadways and with long-term construction projects,” said Brian Klauk, SCDOT project manager for Carolina Crossroads, in a news release. “Our goal from the start was to implement a phased construction approach that would allow the traveling public to enjoy incremental improvements throughout the duration of the project. The early opening of the I-20 auxiliary lane exemplifies the positive impact that this strategy can have on drivers.”

The improvement, which opened May 16, comes 24 days earlier than promised by Archer-United Joint Venure, the team overseeing construction for the project, according to the news release.

Phase 2 Construction of the Carolina Crossroads Project began in 2022 and is expected to “reach significant completion in early 2025,” according to the news release.