Public meetings expected before major Aiken road projects

Aiken County roads

The City of Aiken now has approval from the state that the money will be there to complete some road projects. (WRDW-TV / Feb. 28, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Fran Bush's reaction was that of excitement to the news of a group of road expansions in Aiken.

“I'm very much in favor of this,” she told News 12.

The City of Aiken now has approval from the state that the money will be there: $13.5 million from the state and about $7 million from the one-cent sales tax.

“We're really looking at having some public meetings starting in the summer,” said Larry Morris, the director of engineering and utilities for the City of Aiken.

Morris says after public hearings, there will be a lot of engineering and surveying before they break ground on the three projects.

What are the three projects?

"We've got the Hitchcock Parkway widening basically from Highway 1 on around to where Pine Log and Silver Bluff hit," Morris said.

Bush has experienced congestion at this roadway firsthand.

“Oh, if there's one slow person, the traffic gets backed up. If there's one minor accident, there's no way to get around it,” Bush said.

Bush owns a bookstore along the major Aiken artery. She knows construction could affect how many books fly off the shelves at the Booklovers’ Bookstore.

“It will slow down initially, but yes, it'll be worth it in the long run,” she said.

Morris said improvements to the intersection at Dougherty and Whiskey roads are also on the list.

“Third project, of course, is working on University Parkway from the 118 Bypass to Richland Avenue," he said.

Both Morris and Bush agree that the projects won't only help traffic flow, but it'll help make things safer too.

"This is not going to happen overnight, but at least now, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," Morris said.

News 12 spoke with S.C. Rep. Tom Young Jr. The South Carolina Department of Transportation told him yesterday the construction of Hitchcock Parkway's two additional lanes will probably happen in the summer of 2014. He wasn't sure about the other two, but says he hopes that turn lane at Dougherty Road can be added a little faster. People say the current intersection is a real safety hazard.


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