South Congaree, SC (Paul Kirby) Ramblin Road was officially reopened this week with a ribbon cutting that was very well attended. It was held right at the point where the road bank washed out during the 1000-year flood of 2015 closing the key route from South Congaree north and west.
Senator Katrina Shealy, Representative Mac Toole, Mayor Danny Jones, and a number of other elected and appointed figures, as well as a huge crowd from the community, were on hand when the ribbon was cut and the road was officially reopened to traffic. Many of these people played key roles in helping to get the road back open again.
Ramblin Road was just one of a number of roads that had been closed since the flood because the state-owned road right-of-way ran across a dam whose ownership was in question. There are several other examples of this situation in Lexington County like Wilton Road and the dam at Durham Pond, both in Springdale. In both of those cases, either the dams that the state road is on are owned by private landowners or groups, or the ownership of the dam cannot be determined.
At the heart of the problem are state laws that prohibit the SCDOT from building or maintaining pond or lake dams that hold back water. They can install and maintain culverts and other mechanisms that allow water to run freely under a road or street and they can build bridges where the span and traffic warrants that, but they can’t own or do any maintenance work on dams.
After many months of questions regarding what should be done on Ramblin Road, the SCDOT hired an engineering firm with expertise in dams. That firm went to great lengths to ensure that the dam on Ramblin Road, and a number of others across the state, was safe and solid before the DOT began the repairs. In the case of Ramblin Road, it was determined that all the damages were simply an erosion and collapse of the bank on the downstream side of the road.
Ramblin Road has always been a key thoroughfare for the citizens of South Congaree and the surrounding community. Many complained that the length of time it took to repair the road endangered people who lived on the Platt Springs side of the break. Last year, a home burned in the Congaree Downs community, and some blamed the extent of the damage on the delay in the fire service’s response due to detouring around Ramblin Road. In other cases, people said that EMS and police officer were often delayed by the need to detour around.
Many community members also voiced their concerns about the safety of the intersection of Princeton Road and Edmund Highway, a key intersection in the detour. There seemed to be an increase in serious collisions here, even though the SCDOT lowered the speed limit in that area, and added a great deal of signage warning of the hazardous crossing.
Those who voiced their concerns over the 19 plus months the road was closed said again and again, this repair is simply taking too long! According to most in attendance at the ribbon cutting this week, they’re just glad the work is over and the road is back open