Street enhancement hits bump in road

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While almost every one of the new bulb-outs have black tire marks on them already, apparently one motorist drove over the one near McDonalds. A tire track and missing shrub show evidence that someone drove right through it and kept on going.

By David Meade

Williamston officials met with SCDOT “C” Program Manager Chris Jordan Monday to look at options related to safety and traffic flow concerns associated with the town’s new street enhancement project on West Main St. (SC Hwy. 20)

SCDOT and contractor representatives completed a project walk-thru Monday morning and found only minor items for the contractor’s punchlist to finish the project, according to Jordan.

However, another meeting was held later in the day to address concerns that have been raised by fire and EMS officials and the public about the project.

There were several options discussed that will be considered. Mayor Mack Durham said he will have public safety officials and an expanded streetscape committee meet to discuss options to remedy complaints about the project and present their recommmendations to Council and then to SCDOT.

The issue was also addressed by Councilman Rockey Burgess during the Williamston Town Council meeting later Monday evening.

Burgess called the mayor out on statements that the project was a SCDOT project and the town had nothing to do with it. Burgess said since the project began he has been defending the town, telling people who have complained to him about the project what the mayor had initially told him, that it was a SCDOT project and that although the town initiated and originally designed the project, the town had no input on the final design nor did anyone from the town sign off on the final design. (Burgess addresses the issue in a letter to the editor in this week’s Journal).

After further research and talking with SCDOT officials, Burgess said he found that the mayor had submitted a plan which was different from the original street enhancement plan submitted in 2011-12 and that the mayor had been in contact with SCDOT on the project numerous times between March of 2013 and December of 2014.

Councilman Burgess and Councilman Otis Scott both said this week that the mayor is not keeping them informed on major projects, a complaint that led to the town considering a change in form of government last year after a similar situation arose.

The push to change the form of government was dropped after it became apparent that requirements could not be met to have the issue on the November ballot and Mayor Durham said he would keep council more informed. Durham began holding monthly council work sessions the week before council meetings to discuss “issues and solutions” that affect the town.

The streetscape project was barely mentioned in any of those work sessions.

The issue of council not being informed and according to Burgess’s statements, apparently misled about the most recent project, resulted in a motion being made during Monday night’s council meeting to again change the form of government.

More to come on the street enhancement project, Williamston Town Council meeting and the push to change the form of government in this week’s Journal!