12 On Your Side: Disabled residents battle safety issues without crosswalk

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Cheryl Lyle is a resident at Walton Crossing, a community for disabled people.

Most of the residents use wheelchairs to cross Five Notch Road to get to their clubhouse.

"My biggest fear is that our chairs may break down," Lyle said.

She and the other residents wheel themselves across the busy road to Vincent Village several times a week.

Vincent Village is where they pay their rent, attend support meetings and even participate in Bible study.

"I feel we need some type of crosswalk, a tunnel or something we can access to get across safely," Lyle said.

The residents at Walton Crossing call public safety officers out a few times a week to help direct traffic. However, Lyle says, the officers are not always available when they need to cross Five Notch Road.

Several residents have complained to city leaders.

Tom Zeaser, director of engineering and public works for North Augusta, told News 12 On Your Side that he talked with the South Carolina Department of Transportation about adding a crosswalk by Walton Crossing, but the state denied the request.

"In the opinion of the Department of Transportation, that is not a safe place to cross the road and by putting in signal and lights, it would not make it any safer to cross the road," Zeaser said.

He says an underground tunnel would be a safe option. However, a tunnel would cost lots of money and could be a big waste of time and dollars. The city plans to widen Five Notch Road in five to seven years and a tunnel could affect the widening project.

Walton Crossing management says it doesn't have the resources to help. They say county transportation originally pledged to help transport residents back and forth between facilities, but that did not happen due to budget cuts.

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