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From four lanes to three

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Police chief urges drivers to be courteous, patient along North Main Street

By Greg Summers

Lancaster Police Department Chief Scott Grant has a two-word tip for motorists frustrated by the recent lane pattern changes along the North Main Street corridor — be nice.
“Change can be a hard thing to swallow until everybody gets used to it, so there are going to be some growing pains,” Grant said. “The best is advice is to be a more courteous driver, especially at the intersections.”
The section of North Main Street, from Barr Street northward to just past Woodland Drive, is no longer a four-lane road with tight left-hand turning lanes.
The five-block stretch of roadway has been reduced to three lanes, with a middle lane providing a common turning lane for northbound and southbound traffic.
This section of North Main Street is being repaved through a S.C. Department of Transportation project that wraps up later this month. The improvements also include new traffic signals at the congested Woodland Drive intersection.
“It’s referred to as a road diet,” said S.C. Sen. Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster) in a text message noting that several local leaders lobbied for the traffic pattern change to improve safety.
“The original four lanes were really tight and left little margin for error among vehicles at turning lanes,” he said.
The lane changes only impact North Main Street and not Woodland Drive.
Grant said city police accident reports show that there has been nine reported wrecks so far this year at the North Main/Woodland intersection. One of them, he noted, listed narrow lanes as a contributing factor.
The other eight were due to drivers turning left into the path of oncoming traffic.
“None of them had to do with the change-ups. The same reason people were wrecking there in March is the same reason why they’re wrecking now, and that’s failure to yield right-of-way,” he said.
Grant is urging local motorists to be especially considerate Friday night with heavier-than-normal traffic expected in that area from the Lancaster High School graduation ceremony at nearby Memorial Stadium.
“My guys are saying it’s for the better. The issue is we all become familiar with doing things in a certain way, so it takes us longer to adjust,” he said. 

Follow reporter Greg Summers on Twitter @GregSummersTLN or contact him at (803) 283-1156.