When it comes to letters and calls from the community (relating to our roads) it’s THIS intersection that I hear about the most! Today I took the picture above but I could’ve posted photos from various accidents over the past year, or the large number of cars in the morning/afternoon for school drop-off/pick-up, etc.

Instead just a normal photo from the Coogler Road side.

If you’re not familiar with this location, you might not be able to notice there’s a curve (blind?) right before the intersection. Inevitably someone pulling out doesn’t see the traffic coming or they either underestimate the speed at which the cars are traveling. The result? Not good. A couple of accidents and many, many near-misses.

Since I’ve been elected, we’ve seen many road improvements in our community . I’ve been pleased with the Department of Transportation and their attention to our needs and I again say “thank you” to the Department and Thad Brunson (Administrator, SCDOT Engineering District 1) in particular.

At this intersection, Senator Courson and I have pushed for (and received) improvements with SEVERAL signs placed as you approach the intersection in either location. The intent is to draw people’s attention to the dangerous conditions. These signs include the usual warning signs as well as another set of flashing signals that were installed. We’ve also worked with Richland County Sheriff’s Department and had patrols monitor for speeders. Still, it appears accidents and congestion continue to happen.

So what’s next?

Serving on a few of the committees I have, I’ve learned that roads and signals cost money – LOTS of money! Being in state government, I’ve also seen how we have yet to improve funding for our infrastructure and, of course, I know how money is just not there for the improvements we need (for the state as a whole). Richland County Council even considered a sales-tax dedicated specifically for roads but that proposal was defeated.

To get the money, there’s two things that can happen at the state level. The gax tax can go up. (Note: No, thank you!) or we can dedicate money in the budget specifically for roads. The latter is exactly what the House tried to do last year when we passed a bill to take the sales tax on cars and dedicate that to road improvements. Unfortunately, the bill didn’t get out of the Senate.

To talk more specifically about this intersection….the cost just to put in turn lanes needed for a traffic signal runs roughly $900,000.

I’ve even thought about a traffic-circle (as others have thought, as well). We run into the same thing though…costs. Still runs about $900,000 PLUS the SCDOT has to get right-of-way from the property owners at the corners because more space is needed when you do a traffic-circle.

The cheapest way to help would be a Four-Way Stop put at the intersection. That is currently what we are pursuing but I’m not sure what the SCDOT traffic studies will tell us. While my gut and my eyes tell me we have to do more, the intersection still doesn’t meet the criteria for a traffic signal, traffic cirlce, or four-way stop.

Stay tuned for more details within the next two weeks…