White Knoll, SC 06/30/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Motorist that frequently travel McLee Road between Platt Springs Road and Bluefield Road will soon have something to celebrate. Lexington County’s Public Works Department is working in conjunction with the SCDOT to completely resurface a portion of the road that has seriously deteriorated over the years.
Last week, the DOT put what they call a “hot patch” on the road that gives it a much smoother and safer ride already. This is not however the final fix. According to Mike Bagley, district engineer for the SCDOT, that was done until the planning and preparation for the resurfacing could be complete. “We had been using cold patching for years and that obviously wasn’t working. Every time it rained, we had to go back and refill all the potholes again,” Bagley said. “Hopefully the hot patch asphalt will remain in place and intact until the resurfacing is completed.”
Bagley said that the paving was being done with the help of the Lexington County Council. “Drivers can thank their county council for this one,” Bagley continued. They are using funds provided through the County Transportation Committee (CTC) to pay for the project. This is a SCDOT road, but the CTC provision of funds were what got this much needed work scheduled.
A senior official with Lexington County Public Works said, “State law requires that a portion of Lexington County’s annual C Fund apportionment be spent on the State highway system.” C Funds are a portion of the state gasoline tax that is collected in the county and then returned here for the purpose of fixing or building roads. State law spells out what it must be spent on, and it is divided up using those guidelines with the help of the CTC. “This year, County staff worked with SCDOT staff to develop a list of roads to resurface. The County Transportation Committee (CTC) approved this project (McLee Road resurfacing) in May 2021. McLee is one road included in this $2.8 million resurfacing project.” According to the Public Works official, McLee Road will be resurfaced from Greenbank Drive to Bluefield Road. "The funds have been sent to SCDOT for them to manage the construction. The County has not received an update yet from SCDOT on the construction schedule.”
McLee Road had deteriorated on the Bluefield Road intersection end to the point that it was becoming unsafe to drive on. The closer you got to the stop sign on the Bluefield end, the rougher the road got,
The daily traffic count, the number of vehicles that travel a road each day, had become much greater than the road was ever designed to handle. When it was first paved, it was a used to provide access to a small number of homes and was sometimes used as a cut through from the Boiling Springs and Pelion areas to Red Bank.
Once White Knoll High School was built, major retail and service industry development followed. Suddenly, the car count began to climb dramatically as motorist from southern Lexington County made it their shortcut of choice to get to Walmart, Lowes, McDonalds, Starbucks, and other businesses in White Knoll and Red Bank communities. In short, the road just wasn’t designed or built for that amount of traffic to drive it every day and the overuse showed.
Once McLee is resurfaced, the question of the condition of Bluefield Road will certainly come up. It is in equally poor condition. That road runs below a pond and was built on swampy soils that are not ideal for road construction. Although the resurfacing of McLee will make the trip through easier for hundreds of motorists each day, something really needs to be done with Bluefield in order to get the roads in that area up to par with other heavy traffic thoroughfares.
For now, fixing McLee is just half of the problem. Hopefully in the near future, Bluefield’s resurfacing will be on the planning table.