East West Connector now officially open

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Hwy. 81 – Clemson Blvd.

By Stan Welch

An idea came to fruition in Anderson County Friday, almost a quarter century after it was conceived; when the East West Parkway was officially opened. The road, conceived in 1990 and designed to connect SC Highway 81 with Clemson Boulevard, is now open. The ribbon cutting ceremony, which actually consisted of unveiling a SCDOT sign identifying the road, included dozens of dignitaries as well as more than a hundred citizens, and the T.L. Hanna Marching Band and JROTC color guard.

The speakers were SC District 6 House member, and Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Brian White; County Council Chairman Francis Crowder; Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts; and District Three representative to, and Chairman of, the SC Highway Commission Eddie Adams.

The project, which underwent more than one metamorphosis before it became reality, was a source of controversy among those who live along or near the route and who wanted to maintain their bucolic lifestyle. Those concerns were acknowledged by each speaker, who also lauded the cooperative efforts to address the concerns, while also moving the project forward.

The concerns were for the most part allayed by the creation of a special overlay district with strict and specific land use regulations to prohibit widespread commercial or industrial development within the area.

As Rep. White said, “Everyone worked to try and address these issues. None of us wanted just another five lane asphalt jungle strung across Anderson County. The trees we planted, the efforts we made to turn this into a parkway and not just a highway, are something we can all enjoy and be proud of.”

Following the ceremony, a parade of government and private vehicles opened the parkway by driving to Clemson Boulevard.