- Special Sections
- Public Notices
County officials, residents and motorists anxiously listened to an update on expansion plans for S.C. 160, one of the Panhandle’s busiest roads, at Lancaster County Council’s Monday meeting, April 23.
Presenting the much-anticipated information to council members were Wendy Bell, with the Catawba Regional Council of Governments, and Brian Klauk, with the S.C. Department of Transportation. Both addressed the construction project’s two phases, funding issues, future plans and frequently asked questions about the road.
The project, which will significantly widen S.C. 160 from U.S. 521 west to the York County line, has been divided into two portions. Bell said the first phase, which cost $6 million to complete, was finished in 2009. That phase included expanding the road to five lanes on a stretch from Possum Hollow Road to U.S. 521.
A second phase, which will widen portions of the road to three lanes up to the York County line, will cost an estimated $14 million, Bell said.
Klauk said SCDOT is moving forward with its right-of-way plans for the second phase of the road, including right-of-way acquisitions that should begin in September. Phase 2 will begin where the five lanes now end, about three-quarters of a mile east of Chicomb Drive, with an expansion to three lanes all the way to the Sugar Creek bridge at the county line, he said.
“The goal is to reduce travel times,” Klauk said. “You’ll start to see the benefits of a ‘do-nothing’ plan as the Indian Land area continues to grow.”
As part of the project, Klauk said many of the property owners along the road will need to be contacted. He expects construction to start in late 2013 and be completed sometime in 2015.
As the S.C. 160 project scope has increased over the last few years, Bell said it’s entire cost has grown from an anticipated $11 million to about $22.5 million by the time it’s finished.
Barberville Road intersection
Work on the intersection of S.C. 160 and Barberville Road, which travels north into Mecklenburg County, was originally included as part of the S.C. 160 project, but was eventually spun off into its own $2.4 million project.
“In order to move forward with it, we pulled it out to work on it,” Bell said.
Klauk said they wanted to make sure that intersection project was finished.
“We pulled out the Barberville Road project because we knew the importance of it to the citizens of Lancaster County,” Klauk said.
The busy intersection has been the scene of several deadly accidents.
The project, which began in October 2011, is nearly complete. The intersection has been widened to include right- and left-hand turning lanes from S.C. 160 on to Barberville Road, said Ken Wilson, SCDOT resident engineer for Lancaster County. The surfacing work has been completed and the lanes were marked last week. Wilson said all that remains is the installation of traffic signals, some shoulder and grass work and cleaning up. He expects it to all be done by May 31.
How many lanes?
After hearing the presentation, Councilman Jack Estridge wondered why the S.C. 160 widening plan had changed since it was first presented several years ago.
“When the project was first mentioned, I remember them discussing five or four lanes, but now it’s down to three lanes. How did we lose that?” Estridge asked.
Bell said it came down to the economics.
“The original project was described to be three lanes from (U.S.) 521 all the way to the county line. And then Lancaster County wanted a five-lane road, but that increased the cost dramatically and we couldn’t do it like that all the way to the York County line,” Bell said. “The funds were only available for a certain portion, so there was an agreement to build three lanes.”
Another factor hindering the widening of the whole road to five lanes was the fact that the bridge at the county line was not designed for five lanes and would need to be rebuilt. Bell said it’s possible future funding could be obtained to eventually widen the whole road to five lanes.
“The money is not there right now, but that could be a potential future project,” she said.
Estridge said he’s heard from many in the community who hoped for a different outcome.
“There’s a lot of people that feel let down or are disappointed because they expected a four- or five-lane road,” Estridge said.
Several council members, including District 1 Councilman Larry McCullough, Chairwoman Kathy Sistare and Councilwoman Charlene McGriff, asked for further information, including the full construction plan and any factors that could hinder the project.
“This is so we can understand it and can get our arms wrapped around where it’s going in this particular area,” McCullough said.
Klauk promised to provide a written copy of the plan to council by May 4.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416