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No start date set for summer paving projects

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By Reece Murphy

In February, the S.C. Department of Transportation announced plans to rehabilitate portions of Potter and Taxahaw roads in southern Lancaster County and all of Shelley Mullis Road in Indian Land.

Plans for the roads call for grinding the worst stretches of road, or as in the case of Shelley Mullis Road the road’s entire 2.5 mile length, down to their bases, which will then be shored up and resurfaced with asphalt.

Though SCDOT awarded the contract three months ago, the work has yet to begin on the roads, which are among the most heavily-traveled roads in the county.

In the meantime, Panhandle residents who travel Shelley Mullis say the road is getting worse – so much so that at least two sections present a significant danger to drivers.

The most dangerous spot, drivers say, is a 100-foot stretch in the eastbound lane of a curve just east of the bridge over Six Mile Creek.

The spot is pockmarked with deep holes, sharp edges and a crumbling, uneven road surface in the lane’s wheel-paths.

“We are all playing ‘dodge ‘em’ to avoid some giant holes,” area resident Karen Paulson said in an email inquiry to the Carolina Gateway. “They are not patching or repairing. There is one that is about 4 feet square in the eastbound side. We are all driving around it, into the oncoming lane.”

Another area resident, James Anderson, knows all too well the damage the road’s potholes can play on a vehicle. One incident about six months ago cost him $1,500 in repairs.

Anderson said he’s also worried that drivers weaving into the left lane to avoid the series of potholes is going to cause an accident with oncoming traffic.

Like Paulson, Anderson doesn’t understand why road crews don’t make more substantial repairs.

“They had this whole crew out there, put up cones, even had a big roller,” Anderson said. “I thought, ‘They’re really going to fix that hole this time,’ but they didn’t. They just put a bunch of dirt into it and packed it down.

“It’s really a dangerous situation. They never really fix them,” he said. “There may be an explanation. If there is, I’d like to hear it.”

SCDOT District 4 Resident Engineer Greg Williams, who is overseeing the project, said the contract was awarded to Boggs Paving of Monroe, N.C. Williams works in the Chesterfield County SCDOT office.

Boggs Paving did not respond to a request to discuss repair timelines or road conditions.

Williams said the project as a whole includes a total of seven roads in Chesterfield and Lancaster County. The project’s deadline for completion is still November 2013, he said.

“They’re actually going to start in Chesterfield County and then head over to Lancaster County,” Williams said. “Taxahaw Road is the closest, so I believe they’re planning on doing that one next.

“I do know that Shelley Mullis is scheduled to be the last one they do,” he said. “I think they had it slated for the end of August or the beginning of September. Of course, that’s subject to change.”

Williams said in keeping with contract terms, Boggs has taken over patching and maintenance of the roads during the project’s duration.

He said he’s well aware of the situation on Shelley Mullis due to the steady stream of complaints SCDOT receives each week from drivers about the road’s condition.

Williams said he visited the road with Boggs officials June 12, to discuss repairs.

Williams said the lack of more significant repairs to the potholes are likely a cost factor, since any repaving to completely smooth out the spots now would have to be ground down along with the rest of the road when the rehabbing starts.

Still, Williams said, Boggs Paving is well aware of both drivers’ complaints and they are contractually liable for any damages arising from the road’s condition.

“I know it’s on their minds. Like I said, I remind them of it every few days,” Williams said. “As many complaints as we’re getting, as many emails as I’m sending them, there’s a good chance that they’ll move that (Shelley Mullis repairs) up.

“We could always recommend they do that, but we don’t have a way to tie them down to it,” he said. “Basically, it’s at their discretion.”

According to SCDOT District 4 Administrator John McCarter, the $1.5 million funding for the project is federal road money meted out by the state on a county-by-county basis.

Roads are chosen based on formula and several evaluation factors including condition of the pavement and amount of traffic

The Taxahaw section runs approximately 3.4 miles from the area of Antioch Volunteer Fire Department near Flat Creek Road (S.C. 903) and Potter Road to Hinson’s Trading Post on Rocky River Road.

The Potter Road section to be repaired runs approximately 2.3 miles between the Lloyd’s Phillips 66 on Camp Creek Road (Five Points) and Lucky 99 at the Pageland Highway (S.C. 9) intersection.

 

 Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151