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Black River Road, U.S. 521 master plan on city agenda

Posted: February 13, 2017 5:53 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Camden City Council will consider a resolution during its meeting tonight that, if approved, would support the creation of a master transportation plan for the Black River Road/U.S. 521 corridor south of downtown Camden. Kershaw County Council will also consider a similar resolution tonight.

Thought behind the resolution stretches back to late July 2016 when several people who own business along the corridor near the I-20 Exit 98 interchange spoke out about a proposed S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) plan to repair the U.S. 521/Century Boulevard interchange. SCDOT had proposed installing a Restricted Crossing U-Turn, or RCUT, between the Holiday Inn Express on one side of U.S. 521 and Fox Run Apartments on the other. An RCUT is an intersection design restricting left turns, but allowing the same movement downstream via a U-turn.

Owners expressed concern the alleged improvements would actually harm their businesses. Some of them also said they never received notification or any communication from SCDOT about the project. Council ended up tabling a resolution at the time supporting SCDOT’s project.

Tonight’s proposed resolution indicates the city believes the RCUT proposal “to be inadequate without a comprehensive corridor study being conducted that incorporates both the growth already known to be coming and that which can be reasonably inferred as coming.”

The proposed resolution notes the city and Kershaw County are served by I-20, U.S. 521 and Black River as “a major transportation and growth corridor” where “significant industrial, commercial, educational and residential investment currently exists.” It also notes the county is “heavily invested in that growth” with the pending expansion of the Exit 98 Central Carolina Technical College campus (CCTC). The expansion, the resolution also notes, would include a new Applied Technology Education Campus (ATEC) as part of a series of Kershaw County School District projects “voters in Kershaw County overwhelmingly approved.”

The resolution states the current U.S. 521 intersections with Black River Road and Century Boulevard are “dangerously congested and unsafe” and SCDOT “has made no effort to study or plan for that corridor based on known growth, and has acknowledged as much.”

Through their respective resolutions, Kershaw County and the city are asking for the master plan to be created for the entire corridor. It “would encompass Black River Road, from the Steeplechase Industrial Park to U.S. 521; U.S. 521, from the intersection of Ehrenclou Drive to I-20; and Century Boulevard, from U.S. 521 into the (CCTC/ATEC) campus, including possible new points of access from the campus to Black River Road.”

In December, the city announced it would soon be undertaking a separate improvement project at I-20 Exit 98 it had been considering for most of 2016: Installing LED lights on all ramps as well as both sides of U.S. 521 from the exit to Century Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed in July and, according to city officials, will make Exit 98 the only lighted exit on I-20 between Florence and Clemson Road in northeast Richland County.

Other items on tonight’s agenda include:

• a special presentation by Wayne Farmer of the Marine Corps League, Kershaw County Leathernecks Detachment No. 1146;

• consideration of a proclamation naming this week as EQUUS Film Festival Week;

• consideration of a resolution authorizing consumption of beer and wine at the EQUUS Film Festival;

• consideration of a resolution authorizing the delivery and lease purchase of three police vehicles, one fire department vehicle and one street department truck;

• pending approval of the membership of the 2017 ATAX Advisory Committee members to include Vip Patel (lodging, Holiday Inn Express), Rinky Patel (lodging, Colony Inn), Daisy Hodge (lodging, Comfort Inn & Suites, Johnny Miller (cultural, Friends of the Archives), Hope Cooper (tourism, Equine Foundation), Dot Goodwin (cultural, Camden Arts Council) and Lisa Frost Lang (member at large, Everyday Gourmet); and

• consideration of a façade grant application in the amount of $8,910 with a city match of $3,750 for 2406 Broad St., Cantey Investment Properties.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. on the second floor of Camden City Hall, 1000 Lyttleton St., and is open to the public.

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