Powdersville roads to get attention

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Hwy. 153 to be repaved

By Stan Welch

A crowd of about thirty five people got some mixed news concerning the traffic issues in the Powdersville area during a recent town hall meeting. The meeting held last Thursday was sponsored by District Six County Councilman Ken Waters. On hand were state Representative Joshua Putnam, and SCDOT representative Kevin McLaughlin.

Perhaps the biggest news was that the main artery in the area, SC Highway 153, is slated for resurfacing all the way from the Anderson/Pickens County line to the interstate. The project will cost $3.6 million, and comes as the result of the GPATS planning group moving the project up on the funding list.

In answer to a question from the audience, McLaughlin said that the hard part, getting the money, was over, and that the project should begin within the next few weeks. He also assured everyone that the work would be done at night, in order to minimize the impact on traffic.

In addition, a project to pave Three Bridges Road from the three way stop to the right turn will also be conducted by the same contractor. That project will cost approximately $1.4 million dollars.

McLaughlin and Putnam explained that a Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan study has identified a number of things that can and will be done to improve traffic flow and safety along the highly traveled corridor. Some of the improvements will include turn lanes, extending existing turn lanes to get more traffic out of the actual travel lanes, and changes to the median to redirect traffic in a more auspicious way. McLaughlin said that actual construction will begin in 2017.

Councilman Waters conceded that two years sounds like a long time, but he pointed out that a project that was first suggested when his son was in middle school has just recently been completed. “Of course, my son is now a proud Clemson graduate,’ he added, to the laughter of the crowd. “So, you can see that things are moving along much better these days. The state and county are working together and trying to get as many projects completed as possible.

Putnam said that a separate safety study is also underway, and that it offers possible access to other funding sources.”The first step right now is to get the resurfacing done, and then we can see where these other avenues might lead us.”

Those hoping to hear good news about traffic signals on the area’s secondary roads were disappointed, however. The intersection of Hwy. 81 and Circle Road, at the Powdersville Fire Department has been studied and traffic volume and the accident history for that site does not justify a traffic signal, said McLaughlin.

The same applies to the intersection of Hwy. 153 and Old Pendleton Road, where some had hoped for a turn lane to be installed. McLaughlin pointed out that an average of just eighteen cars an hour turns at that intersection; a number that is simply too low to justify the installation of a turn lane.