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Funding could help fill S.C. 160 potholes

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By Chris Sardelli

For years, motorists have endured busy traffic and numerous potholes on S.C. 160, but new funding could help alleviate some of those concerns.

The S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission recently approved the use of almost $30 million in federal stimulus funds. The funds will be used for road projects in three of the state’s six Congressional districts.

The 5th District, which includes Lancaster County, received almost $17.6 million for several road projects, including $1.2 million for the reconstruction of almost a mile of S.C. 160.

Sarah Nuckles, SCDOT Commissioner for the 5th District, said the work will begin west from the area that was recently  widened at U.S. 521.

“There are many who have a high interest in this project,” Nuckles said. “The work will begin pretty quickly on this.”

Nuckles said this project, which is not a widening project but more than a simple resurfacing, should help lower the costs of the already planned S.C. 160 widening project.

The project will involve digging deep into the road to reconstruct it.

If the state receives further stimulus funding next year, and if a portion of it can be allocated for the reconstruction of local roads, Nuckles said she will try to

get more funds to reconstruct more of S.C. 160 to the York County line.

“We have had tremendous growth in this area, and this road was never meant to accommodate it,” she said.

SCDOT received $463 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the federal stimulus bill. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama in February.  

SCDOT is required to spend at least 30 percent of the funding for local projects.

Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis is pleased that Nuckles found a way to get funding for the S.C. 160 work.

With right-of-way acquisitions not yet completed for the proposed widening of S.C. 160, and with no timetable for that project, Willis said having the road reconstructed was the next best option.

“(S.C. 160) is such a busy road and it had some pretty significant potholes there,” Willis said. “This is certainly going to be welcome news to everyone who’s ever driven on 160.”

Nuckles said the project is still in the works.

Phase 1, which included the widening at U.S. 521, is complete.

The second phase, which began in 2008 and is funded through 2010, involves the completion of several studies, including environmental reports, right-of-way acquisition and other preliminary work. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Once the second phase is complete, the project would be considered “shovel-ready.”

And if more stimulus money is available at that time, Nuckles said she’d investigate how to allocate that funding for the widening project.

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at (803) 416-8416 or at csardelli@thelancasternews.com