ROCK HILL, S.C. — There’s a lot of uncertainty concerning the Carolina Panthers Training Facility and Headquarters project in Rock Hill, but one thing is clear – a new interchange is still coming to Interstate 77 with or without the Panthers.
While the interchange was part of the Carolina Panthers deal, it’s a state-run project. While Tepper’s organizations have stopped construction on the Panthers facility, they do not have the power to stop the construction of the new I-77 ramps.
Dubbed ‘the Panther Interchange,' the project is overseen by South Carolina’s Department of Transportation. Work is being done by United Infrastructure Group and Blythe Development.
“The thing that’s really unique about this is the schedule," Brian Stumph, the South Carolina Operations Manager for United Infrastructure Group, said. "From a design-build perspective, this is a really fast interchange to build for what we’re building."
RELATED: 'Break the silence and be transparent' | Panthers owner David Tepper hasn't responded to new offer, SC leaders say
When the Carolina Panthers secured a location off I-77 in 2019, the state moved quickly to make changes to I-77 to provide easy access to the new grounds. The interchange will feature a bridge and exits between Exit 79 and Exit 82. While Tepper Sports and Entertainment halted construction on their major project last month, work on the new interchange has continued uninterrupted.
Most of the interchange should be done in a year. Once complete, the interchange will take you to the Panthers site as well as Celriver Road, which connects to restaurants, stores and other major roads.
Construction of the interchange is also unique because, according to Stumph, the bridge over the interstate will have the longest steel beams ever set in South Carolina.
“We’ve got 60 or 70 [people] working the site, and we could hire more," Stumph said of the dozens of jobs the project has created.
The $48 million contract is a joint project between United Infrastructure Group and Blythe Development. It’s overseen by DOT. Since it’s a state-run project, it’s not dependent on what Tepper’s organization decides.
“The panthers is the hub of what this infrastructure is about," South Carolina Representative Gary Simrill said. "But the facts are that public infrastructure is just that – it’s a way to move around within the community with more ease because you have more roads, more interchanges within the construct of the community.”
So far work on the interchange has not impacted traffic. Stumph advised some lanes may be closed at night when the bridge construction starts.
Contact Indira Eskieva at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Listen to free podcasts from WCNC Charlotte
Flashpoint is a weekly in-depth look at politics in Charlotte, North Carolina, South Carolina, and beyond with host Ben Thompson. Listen to the podcast weekly.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || Google Podcasts
Locked On is the leading podcast network for local sports and is owned by WCNC Charlotte's parent company TEGNA.
Listen to Locked On here.
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.