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Council hears update on Black River Road Corridor

Posted: January 29, 2018 5:08 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Kershaw County Council will need to start thinking about how best to address traffic issues occurring in one of the most prolifically growing areas in the county -- and soon.

Council heard a report on the results of a study on the Black River Road Corridor, which encompasses the area between Exit 98/I-20/U.S. 521 and Black River Road, Doc Humphries Road and Mt. Olivet Road.

According to the study, while this area has experienced relatively little growth in the past 10 years, it is likely to experience significant growth due to a number of factors, including residential and commercial development as well as the additions of a new Central Carolina Technical College Campus and Applied Technological Education Center (ATEC). In fact, the area has seen an increase in traffic problems; for example, the intersection of Century Boulevard and U.S. 521, which is an entrance to the CCTC and ATEC campuses, is already seeing a significant increase in vehicle accidents.

Nonetheless, except for the area of U.S. 521 between Wall Street and I-20, the area functions fairly well under existing conditions. Controlling traffic flow and reducing accidents can be achieved through utilization of access management techniques, such as restricting left turn access to U.S. 521 from the side streets.

The study focused on two scenarios that were based on assumptions regarding build out of undeveloped properties as of 2040. In one scenario, it is assumed that all new traffic would use the most convenient interchange with I-20 and roughly follow existing traffic patterns. In the second scenario, it was assumed that the industrial properties on Black River Road would primarily use the Doc Humphries Road interchange with I-20; all other traffic pattern assumptions remained the same as the first scenario.

Based on these scenarios, the study made a number of short and long term recommendations to improve traffic conditions, control flow and reduce accidents. Short term recommendations included the following:

• Construct CCTC access road with Black River Road under two-way stop control with left turn lanes onto new road and Black River Road.

• Install a traffic signal at the intersection of Black River Road and U.S. 521 with a near side signal head on the Black River Road approach

• Remove weave between I-20 west bound off ramp and Century Boulevard by bringing off ramp right turn to the intersection under stop control

• Install a traffic signal at U.S. 521 and I-20 east bound ramps.

• Convert Century Boulevard and Wall Street intersections to only allow left turns from U.S. 521 and right turns from side streets.

Long term recommendations include a traffic light at the intersection of Black River Road and the CCTC access road, four-laning Black River Road with a divided section between U.S. 521 and Steeplechase Industrial Boulevard, Realigning Black River Road with U.S. 521 to a 90 degree angle and adding turning lanes; and installing signals at Century Boulevard and Wall Street to assist with U-turns.

All told, the improvements suggested could run as high as $18.8 million, according to the study.

Council members noted that the Black River Road corridor is but one of a number of potentially high-growth areas within the county. With limited funds available, prioritization of projects will be challenging.

“We can and should compete for infrastructure grants,” Council Chairman Julian Burns said. “Our legislative delegation has asked us for a project list and we are not going to spare any effort to find money for our roads. Competition is stiff, but with this data we are in a better position.”

Burns also noted that some of the projects suggested are within the city of Camden and he hoped the city would become involved as well.

Other business discussed:

• Council heard a report on the county fire service (more coverage on this will be in Friday’s C-I)

• Council passed first reading, in title only, of Fee In Lieu of Taxes agreement between the county and Project Saw. More details, including the name of the company involved, will be forthcoming and made available by third reading, which should occur at council’s Feb. 21 meeting.

• Council approved a resolution honoring the late Fred Sheheen for his lifetime of service and many contributions to Kershaw County and the state of South Carolina.

• Council discussed the 2015 Economic Development bond (More coverage on this will be in Friday’s C-I)

• Council awarded a bid of $73,500 to Genco of Simpsonville, Inc. for repairs and renovations to the county recreation department swimming pool located on Battleship Road.

• Council reappointed Curtis Blackmon, Kate Denton and Gary Whitlock to the planning commission and appointed Jerry Alexander to the airport commission. Alexander replaces John Thomas, whose term expired in December.

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