Local projects included in GPATS Long-Range Transportation Plan

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Officials with the Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study (GPATS) organization were in Williamston recently to receive input and answer questions about current and future transportation projects including road corridors, bridges, road widenings, intersections, turning lanes and bike paths.

The GPATS Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) outlines a regional strategy for a connected transportatoin system and accommodates the region’s existing and future needs.
The Williamston, Pelzer, West Pelzer, Piedmont areas, including Moonville and Powdersville, are included in the GPATS study.

The current input sessions are a part of the Horizon 2040 plan to identify projects and programs that can reasonably be implemented with anticipated funding.

According to Greenville County Transportation Planning Manager Keith Brockington, GPATS reviews the LRTP every five years and the study serves as the regions transportation vision.

Funding for GPAT projects is provided through the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) which provides funding to modernize roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports, airports, broadband, and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
GPATS receives $20.6 million per year to use for approved and ranked projects, according to Brockington.
Funding for projects is 80- percent from the IIJA, with a 20 percent State match from SCDOT.

Brockington said that GPATS works with ACOG, county and municipal officials, SCDOT, and other public agencies and community leaders on planning for projects.
Once a project is on the GPATS list, it becomes eligible for grant funding, Brockington said. The projects go through a ranking system and ACOG studies also help move projects up on the list.

Projects often take years from the time they are placed on the list until it is approved for funding. The Highway 29 improvements that have been underway over the last two years, including the current Cherokee Road bridge replacement, are part of the GPATS planning and funding. The project has been talked about since the 1980s.

Local officials including Anderson County Council District 7 Representative Cindy Wilson and others are pushing to get widening to four lanes for the remainder of Hwy. 29 into Anderson moved up on the GPATS project list.

Current projects on the GPATS list include the following:
Corridor Recommendations:
In Anderson County, Cheddar Road to I85 widening of Hwy. 29
Corridor improvement of Hwy. 86 from Hwy. 81 to Piedmont Hwy.
In Greenville County, Garrison Road and Sandy Springs Road from West Georgia Rd to Hwy. 25
Widening of West Georgia Rd from US 25 to Reedy Fork Rd., Fork Shoals road to E. Standing Springs and Fork Shoals Road to Reedy Fork Rd.

Intersection Recommendations in the 2040 plan include eight projects in Anderson County.
Among them are Main St. to Palmetto Road in West Pelzer; Hwy. 20 at Courtney St. in Pelzer, and SC 8 at Murray St., Courtney St., and Smythe St.
In the Powdersville area: SC 81 at Old Anderson Rd.; Three Bridges Rd/Hood Rd and SC 153; SC 86 at Wigington Rd.; Hwy. 81 at Circle Rd.; Powdersville Rd. at 3 Bridges Road;
In Greenville County, Pelzer Hwy at Garrison Rd., Bessie Rd and Piedmont Hwy.

According to Brockington, Bike Paths are not high on the priority list, but are included in planning studies and discussions. Brockington said if a bike lane or project is part of a road or safety project, they can be added to the project.
Three factors are used to prioritize bicycle and pedestrian improvements including connectivity, length and cost and community and regional impact.
Williamston Pelzer and West Pelzer already have some preliminary planning for bike paths and/or shared use trails to connect the three towns. The Town of Williamston Bike and Pedestrian Plan (2015) is included in the study.

GPATS projects eventually hope to connect these type trails to the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville.
The Swamp Rabbit trail is currently being expanded toward Mauldin.

For anyone who would like to comment, an online survey is available to share thoughts on transportation goals and improvements.
The survey and meeting locations can be found at www.GPATS.org.
or email GPATS@greenvillecounty.org for a link.