News 12 at 11 / Tuesday, February 25, 2014
AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's a popular cut through from North Augusta to US-1, but Belvedere-Clearwater Road gets a little cramped when it narrows just after I-520.
"It really needs to be widened. I think everybody that I talk with feels that it needs to be," homeowner Jim Graves said.
Now, drivers are getting their wish.
"What we're going to do is widen it to five lanes. We'll have a 15 foot median. Twelve foot lanes and extra width for bicycle accommodations. So, it'll be a five lane quarter with sidewalks," SCDOT Project Manager Kevin Gantt explained.
It's a big change from the two lanes you see now from Old Sudlow Lake Road to US-1, leaving homeowners who live just feet from the curb wondering what it means for them.
"Everyone's concerned about losing the frontage of their property and the effect it's going to have on their quality of living," Graves said.
Along with the noise, fives lanes of traffic needs a lot of extra space. Jim Graves has been living along the road for 15 years. He might not make it sixteen.
"I think I'm facing probably relocation," he said.
It's a concern SCDOT said they're not taking lightly.
"We want to make sure we don't take any houses if we don't have to, or make minimal impact to the wetland areas and streams that we're affecting when we come through with the project," Gantt said.
Right now, nearly 10,000 cars drive down this road every day, but experts say that number could more than double by 2030.
"We're trying to accommodate for future growth. It works well for the businesses and the residents in the area to have those lanes so it will operate efficiently in the future," Gantt said.
Tonight was the only public meeting scheduled. SCDOT will be back in about a year for a public hearing with a more detailed plan. They did take comments tonight and say they'll include those in the final plan.