Businessman asks for fix of 'dangerous' intersection

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News 12 First at Five / Friday, Aug. 30, 2013

Traffic jam

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW) -- For Alvin Padgett of Palmetto Tire and Brake Center, the accident in front of his business on Tuesday was nothing new.

"I've exhausted all my resources. I really don't know what else to do," he tells News 12. "I'm not sure exactly how many accidents it's going to take or maybe even a death it's going to take before we get something done."

Tuesday morning, South Carolina Highway Patrol says a red Camaro pulled forward from the Aiken Technical College entrance to turn left onto Jefferson Davis Highway (U.S. 1) when it was hit by a Toyota.

"Every accident that we've seen, someone has gone to the hospital," says Padgett, who says he's seen at least six accidents there over the past couple of years.

Padgett thinks the acceleration lane is too short for this stretch of highway, where the speed limit is 45 miles per hour.

"It's always busy. Even on Saturday and Sunday it's busy, even though we're closed and Aiken Tech is closed. The traffic count is very, very high."

He says the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) should pave a middle lane or even add a light, and as Aiken Tech expands, he says this intersection will become even more dangerous.

"The problem that you're having is you can't see all of the traffic that's coming over the hill, and even though this is a 45 mile per hour zone, obviously, there are people who are going faster than that, and they don't have time to move out of the way," he says. "There's nowhere for them to go in the middle, so they can kind of get over half of the lane and then continue on with their journey."

Padgett says he's called lawmakers and SCDOT, who he says admitted it's a safety issue, but nothing's been done.

"We need to do something because of the safety. I understand it's expensive," says Padgett.

State Representative Roland Smith agreed that there are safety concerns about that stretch of highway. He's agreed to discuss traffic patterns with Aiken Tech very soon. Only then will he know what's needed and how much money to request, he says.

Of course, he says SCDOT moves very slowly sometimes, so it won't be an overnight fix.

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