Silver Bluff Road plans changing

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News 12 at 6 o'clock; February 25, 2008

AIKEN, S.C. --- The South Carolina DOT is trying to figure out what to do with the section of Silver Bluff Road between Richardson Lake Road and Indian Creek Trail. The plans are changing and nothing is set in stone.

The traffic really isn't that bad on the 2 lane road right now. That's what people who live along the roadway have been saying to the SCDOT for a while. Now, the Aiken City Council and the South Carolina Augusta Regional Transportation Study is listening.

This what would happen to Harold Tuttle's property if the 5 lane plan for Silver Bluff Road from the South Carolina Department of Transportation goes forward.

"My driveway would have to be moved. All of my shrubs would come down and that entire fence line would have to be moved back probably 30 feet. All of these trees from the edge of the driveway over would have to come down," says Harold.

And the people who live near Silver Bluff Road are saying stop. As the Aiken City Council and the SC Augusta Regional Transportation Study group says 5 lanes, do not enter.

"I don't think we need the 5 lanes. The traffic projections on the traffic here are less than they are on Whiskey Road," says Harold.

Right now, a traffic study shows about 17,000 cars travel on the road each day. ARTS unanimously approving a plan not to widen the road. Instead, they would like to see traffic turning lanes where needed, which may widen the road at intersections.

"If we get those turning lanes, you get the car out of the directional flow of the traffic and you allow traffic to flow normally," says Harold.

"For the amount of traffic that is there, providing turning lanes and the other improvements they talked about would solve the problem," says Aiken City Councilwoman Jane Vaughters.

Those other proposed improvements would be traffic signals, curbing and gutters.

"We're not looking to expand right of way at all and we're hoping the state won't do that," says Jane.

And there-in-lies the problem. Ultimately, the SCDOT will make the final decision for the roadway. One of those decisions could be 5 lanes. That's something hundreds of people do not want.

"Why do you need 5 lanes? I mean, you're taking a historic road (and making it) a highway. No need for it," says Harold.

Any future proposals from the DOT are up in the air. We do know, there will be a full ARTS committee meeting on March 6th. The SCDOT will hold a public information meeting, but we do not know when or where that meeting will take place.

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