By Stan Welch
A steady stream of area residents came and went Tuesday afternoon, as SCDOT officials presented their plans for replacing the Cherokee Road bridge over Highway 29 North.
The drop in meeting, held at Palmetto Middle School, was intended to receive public input on the project, which is slated to begin construction in the spring of 2021, with a projected construction time of between nine and eighteen months, according to Chris Jordan, program manager for SCDOT. The public comment period has been extended till October 25.
The existing bridge, which was built sixty years ago, has long been a problem, with its thirteen foot clearance. The bridge has been an impediment to commercial development along the southern reach of Highway 29, limiting the transport of goods and materials along the Highway 29 route.
The proposed bridge would be two hundred seventy six feet long, and forty six feet wide. There would be two travel lanes and eight foot shoulders on each side. The cumbersome approaches to the bridge and access to Highway 29 will be addressed by the construction of two roundabouts. One will be at the intersection of Cherokee and Joe Black Roads, and the other at the cul de sac that marks the end of Twenty Nine Court, the road that serves several commercial businesses in the small industrial park there. Twenty Nine Court will be extended approximately 800 feet to the site of the roundabout.
Jordan explained that the recent repairs to the existing bridge deck were necessary due to the construction schedule for the new bridge.
“That bridge was in bad shape. I’m not sure it would have made it until 2021” Jordan said. He defended the construction schedule by explaining that the work will be impacted by having to maintain the regular traffic flow on Highway 29.
“If you’re working above a stream or something, you don’t have to be as careful. We will have to control and manage the Highway 29 traffic on a regular basis.”
The cost of the additional right of way to be attained is budgeted at $1.2 million, with $12.4 million slated for the construction.
To view the project online, go to http://www.scdot.org;Public Involvement Portal-Public Meeting Calendar. Chris Jordan Can be reached at JordanCE@scdot.org or by calling (803)737-4964.
By Stan Welch