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County council adopts Black River Road study

Posted: March 19, 2018 4:20 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2018 1:00 a.m.
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Kershaw County Council adopted recommendations put forth in the recently completed Black River Road Corridor Study during its March 13 meeting.

The study, which took an in-depth look at growth and future traffic trends in the area between Doc Humphries Road and Exit 98/I-20, also came up with lists of short and long term recommendations for mitigating and managing traffic in the area.

“This is not a commitment of money, this is just a guideline,”Council Chairman Julian Burns said. “We will spare no effort in seeking and securing any funds that might be available.”

Short term recommendations included installing traffic signals, when warranted, at the intersections of Black River Road and U.S. 521 and at U.S. 521 and the I-20 eastbound ramp; removing the weave between the I-20 westbound ramp and Century Boulevard by bringing the off ramp right turn to the intersection under stop control; converting the intersection of Century Boulevard and Wall Street to only allow left turns from U.S. 521 and only right turns from the side streets; and building the Tech College/Shopping Center Road to Black River Road with two-way stop control with left turn lanes on the new road and Black River Road.

Long term recommendations include traffic signals at intersections of Black River Road and new Tech College Road Black River Road and Steeplechase Industrial Boulevard, and U.S. 521 and I-20 Eastbound ramps; making Black River Road four lanes with divider from U.S. 521 to Steeplechase Industrial Bioulecvard, realigning Black River Road with U.S. 521 to a 90 degree angle with additional turning lanes.

Other business discussed:

• During public comment period, council heard from several citizens, including LeeAnn Torres, who chairs the Kershaw County Coalition for Safe Schools. She relayed that organization’s request that council reconstruct the budget to accommodate recruitment, training and hiring of SROs and coordinate with the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees to provide full time SRO services. The group suggests seeking areas in the budget to cut spending and admonished council that the money comes from taxpayers, therefore taxpayers have a say in how it is spent.

“Cut economic development,” she said. “In doing so, you will see a higher profit margin, if you will, and you can use the boost in school safety to make our community a more appealing place to move, do business nad raise families. Cut the recreation department budget. In so doing, you will still provide the benefits of a recreation department while also providing the peace of mind that comes along with guarding the sanctity of life in our schools.

“You know the budget best,” she said. “You know where the money is. To refuse to spend it first on protecting innocent lives is not an option. It is not convenient to reduce spending on programs that enrich our lives. However, it is absolutely worth it. Any other decision is negligent.”

• Council approved entering an agreement to retain special counsel to assist with ongoing litigation between states, counties and municipalities, and major pharmaceutical corporations, which is occurring in response to the nationwide opioid crisis. Basically, the agreement calls for council to retain the law firms of Savage Royall & Sheheen, LLP and New York-based Marc J. Bern and Partners, LLP in ongoing litigation against major pharmaceutical companies. The law firms will not charge any fees unless a recovery or settlement is obtained; all payment to the law firms will be from any funds recovered in this litigation.

County Administrator Vic Carpenter noted to council that some 74,000 opioid prescriptions currently exist in Kershaw County, yet the entire county has 64,000 residents.

“I am informed by the coroner’s office that two years ago, Kershaw County did not have a single opioid- related death reported; last year there were six,” he said. “Clearly, it is a major problem, both here and across the country.”

• Council passed first reading of an ordinance re-establishing the Clean Community Commission.

• Council heard an update from Dr. Walt Collins regarding the University of South Carolina, Lancaster.

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