Williamston seeking ATCT funding to help with Minor Street “sinkhole”

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By Stan Welch
Both Pelzer and Williamston were represented at Monday’s meeting of the Anderson County Transportation Committee (ACTC), and all of them left with some level of assurance that their requests for funding would be heard and considered.
Williamston’s delegation, including Councilmen Rockey Burgess and Chris Alexander, as well as public works director David Rogers, were seeking help in addressing the sinkhole and compromised roadbed of Minor Street, which has closed the entire road.
The problem area had been patched a couple years earlier, but this year’s unusually heavy rains defeated those efforts, allowing the undermining of both lanes of the road.
That extensive damage raised the issue of extending the repairs and increasing the level of wetlands mitigation that might be required.
The former engineering firm, CoTransco, had prepared a plan for the repairs but has yet to provide it to the committee. The current projection of the cost of the mitigation is $41,000.
Councilman Burgess asked if the town’s contribution of $36,000 in matching funds could be applied to the mitigation, a request that committee member Charlie Wham opposed, comparing it to the committee’s prohibition against using its funds to purchase rights of way for projects.
Burgess continued to ask for consideration, saying that the town simply could not afford an additional expense of that size. “We worked very, very hard to find the thirty six thousand,” he said.
Burgess said if he was Mayor, he would simply “take a backhoe and dig the sucker up and pave over it, for about twenty thousand dollars”; a suggestion met by stony silence from the committee.
Committee member Grayson Kelly, a self proclaimed born and bred citizen of Williamston, made a motion to let Williamston apply their match funds to the mitigation costs, and county administrator Rusty Burns assured the committee that the additional five thousand would be available, if needed.
“The amount of mitigation might come down once BLE reviews the plans. But either way, this problem has got to be fixed, so the five thousand will be there if it is needed.”
The committee voted to approve the motion, and instructed the BLE representative present to inspect the situation at the earliest possible moment. They also instructed him to contact CoTransco and ask for the plans they have produced. The urgency of the situation was acknowledged by several members of the committee.
Pelzer had submitted a list of town streets that they hope to see repaired and resurfaced.
The list includes Lyman, Adger, Guy, River, Front, Goodrich, Parker, Hampton, Allen and Pelzer Park streets.
The town council had previously approved a resolution declaring their support for the requests, as well as their intentions to apply $15,000 that they have on account with the county as a ten per cent match towards the total $165,000 they were seeking.
But the committee, which has recently replaced the engineering firm it employs, noted that there were no estimates for the cost of the projects. They voted to delay final approval or denial until the new company ,BLE, can evaluate and assess the projects.