Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has announced plans for an additional $562 million in road pavement and resurfacing projects for the 2020-2021 fiscal year across the state. This year begins July 1, 2020. The Transportation Commission approved the plan on June 18, 2020.
Currently, the SCDOT is completing year three of its 10-Year Plan on or ahead of schedule in all categories of rebuilding the state's roads. Remember these are state roads. This has nothing to do with the dirt roads of Lexington County. Almost all of those, more than 600 miles of roads, are maintained and paved by Lexington County through a complicated process of funding that has very little to do with your Lexington County property taxes. The process of paving county-maintained dirt roads can be read in an article run in The Lexington Ledger more than a year ago. That article can be found here. DIRT ROADS
The DOT’s $562 million plan includes new paving projects in all of SC's 46 counties. This is in addition to the $1.3 billion of road, bridge and safety project work SCDOT is currently implementing. Paving the state's roads is the largest of the 10-Year Plan's four programs, which include rural road safety, replacing or repairing bridges, and Interstate widening. As a part of the 2020-2021 paving plan SCDOT plans to resurface an additional 661 miles of primary roads, farm-to-market roads, and neighborhood streets.
"This 661 miles of paving projects is in addition to the previously approved 3,348 miles of paving projects SCDOT has launched since the enactment of the state gas tax increase in July 2017," said SCDOT Commission Chairman Tony Cox. "The Commission and SCDOT are committed to full transparency in how projects are selected and constructed. We encourage citizens to provide comments during the projects' Public Comment period and to follow our progress on existing projects and as new ones are added."
Some of this DOT money is heading to Lexington County for specific paving and improvement projects. Safety abatement projects, a name for projects that specifically are targeted at reducing driving hazards on roads or at intersections that are considered unsafe, are high on the list. The remaining dollars are to alleviate traffic in some very congested areas of the county or to replace unsafe bridges that have long exceeded their intended lifespan.
According to the portion of the DOT’s report that details Lexington County’s planned projects, none of this particular pot of money is allocated in the coming year for just repaving secondary roads like Windy Wood, Wessinger, Lewie and Steel Roads or Crystal Springs Drive that just have lots of potholes.Even though these are all riddled with those, they just didn’tmake the cut based on the analytical approach the SCDOT uses to decide where to spend their money.
The SCDOT prioritizes paving projects all in the same way. They’re ranked based on safety and crash data, the condition and age of roads, and traffic information. Information on what projects in this county are on the list and how SCDOT determines which projects are funded through their process can be found at this link by just clicking it: https://www.scdot.org/inside/planning-project-prioritization.aspx.
Here are a few projects that did make the list in Lexington County that might interest you:
A roundabout (traffic circle) at Old Cherokee Road and St. Peters Church Road. This is being installed to alleviate the dangers that exist at that intersection now.
A roundabout (traffic circle) at Busbee Road and Fish Hatchery Road. This is being installed to alleviate the dangers that exist at that intersection now.
The widening of Augusta Road (US Hwy 1) from Wrenn Road in the Oak Grove area to Jarvis Klapman Boulevard in West Columbia to help alleviate traffic congestion. This would also help with safety on that busy road.
The widening and improvements of Columbia Avenue from I-26 to Amick’s Ferry Road in Chapin to help alleviate traffic congestion. This would also help with the safety on that busy road.
Replacing the bridge on Charleston Highway over Congaree Creek between I-26 and old Dunbar Road in Cayce. It’s old and should have been replaced years ago.
To find Lexington County projects on the 2020-2021 list, click the link just given, scroll down to the map, click the yellow band of the state that includes Lexington County, and enter Lexington in the search box of the page that opens. Start that process by clicking this link: https://www.scdot.org/projects/current-projects.aspx.
Remember, this is a 10-year plan and we’re only on year three. There are also some other sources of money that might get your bumpy road paved even if it’s not included for pavement from these funds. Tell your tires and shocks not to give up hope, relief may be coming one day.