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Exit 98 lighting project completed ahead of schedule

Posted: July 6, 2017 5:26 p.m.
Updated: July 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.

The city of Camden recently completed a new, energy efficient lighting project at the Interstate 20 interchange with U.S. 521 at Exit 98. Camden’s Exit 98 is now the only lighted exit on I-20 between Columbia’s Clemson Road exit and Florence.

“This project is just another example of how the city of Camden is inviting people in,” Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford said. “These lights out at the highway say, ‘We’re here and you are welcome.’”

New light poles were installed along each of the ramps at Exit 98 and north along U.S. 521 toward Century Boulevard, for a total of 49 light poles. All are equipped with LED fixtures meant to significantly reduce energy costs. Each lighting fixture is rated to withstand extreme temperatures and last at least 100,000 hours. At an average of 12 hours of illumination a day, each fixture is expected to last roughly 22 years. 

“Camden is steadily becoming a more popular destination for tourists, and we also have students and workers traveling from nearby communities to Camden during all hours of the day,” Economic Development/Tourism Director Suzi Sale said. “The city of Camden has taken a remarkable initiative to increase the attractiveness and accessibility of our southern gateway.”

Camden Fire Chief John Bowers said the new lights are not only a “welcoming” addition, but a welcome addition in terms of safety.

“Having this area illuminated will add to the safety of motorists every night and will help reduce accidents during times of fog and rain,” Bowers said. “This proactive approach hopefully will serve our motoring public and also keep our Firefighters and other first responders safe.”

Under the direction of the city’s Public Works Director Tom Couch and supervised by Electric Department Superintendent Jerry Marthers, the project took about one year to plan and receive approval from the S.C. Department of Transportation.

The city worked with Southeastern Consulting Engineers Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., and awarded a contract that started Feb. 13 to Lee Electrical Construction Inc., of Aberdeen, N.C., with an expected completion date of June 30.

“The city and Southeastern have enjoyed a solid working relationship for more than 25 years. And the city is very satisfied with the work performed by Lee Electrical, which completed the project on June 15, 15 days ahead of schedule,” Public Works Director Tom Couch said.

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