No New Truck Route for Ridgeway

RIDGEWAY – The truck route through downtown Ridgeway will remain unchanged, Town Council learned officially during their Oct. 9 meeting. Council got the news from County Councilman David Brown, who sits on the Central Midlands Council of Governments’ (COG) Rural Transportation Committee and hand-delivered the results of traffic study completed by the S.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) on Aug. 8.

“The current tuck route utilizes S-72 (Thomas Street), which is the safest route having geometric features necessary to accommodate trucks passing along this corridor,” the memorandum from Tony Sheppard, DOT’s Director of Traffic Engineering to Mike Sullivan, DOT’s Area Planning Director, states. “The design and construction of the intersections and railroad grade crossing is far superior compared to other alternative routes through town. . . . There are no viable alternative routes for trucks to bypass Ridgeway altogether.”

Brown also told Council that Transportation funds previously earmarked for a proposed interchange just to the east of town at highways 34 and 21, which was scrapped because of community opposition, was being redirected to improve the intersection of Highway 321 and Peach Road.

The junction has been the site of 13 crashes since 2008, with 10 of those resulting from the angle at which the intersection is laid out. No fatalities have been recorded as a result of the accidents, but 16 people have been injured.

Brown said the COG was requesting an additional $1 million for the fund to offset money spent on engineering fees and studies for the abandoned 34 and 21 intersection.

County Grants

Mayor Charlene Herring informed Council of the County’s decision to extend the application period for community enhancement grants, the deadline for which is Oct. 31. Herring said there remained $2,000 in County funding for District 1, and she suggested Council apply and use the funds to pay for a landscape architect to develop a land use plan for the site of the former Ridgeway school. That plan, Herring said, could in turn be used when applying for state grants for the site.

Councilman Heath Cookendorfer, meanwhile, suggested the County grant could instead be used to help upgrade the Ridgeway Police station, specifically to provide Internet access. Herring said a work session might be necessary to iron those details out before the Oct. 31 deadline.

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