Rockton Thruway Paving on Track

WINNSBORO – Questions at the March 9 County Council meeting from one of the leading opponents of a proposed granite mining operation with designs on several hundred acres off Rockton Thruway about the perceived rush to pave that road were addressed this week by an engineer with the County Transportation Commission (CTC).

“We would like to know why the paving of Rockton Thruway keeps climbing up the priority list,” Lisa Brandenburg asked Council last week. “We were, in 2012, in the 80’s, and now we’re almost number one on the list. Nothing has changed with the land owners in wanting that road paved. We haven’t made any requests or anything.”

Brandenburg’s question piqued the interest of Councilman Billy Smith, in whose district (7) Rockton Thruway lies. While Smith said the CTC operates independently of the County, he told Brandenburg he would investigate the matter further.

This week, Smith told The Voice that he had confirmed through the CTC that Rockton Thruway was scheduled for paving this year. With a countywide priority ranking of 56th, Rockton Thruway is fourth on the list in District 7.

Ordinance 616, passed in July of 2013, adjusted the points system by which roads are ranked to be paved, Smith said, and while Rockton Thruway was affected by the new formula, so were several other roads. The revised formula assigns points to roads based largely on housing density (permanent homes per mile). Additional points are assigned based on the number of churches on the road, whether or not the road is defined as a thruway (a shortcut between two roads or a shortcut on the same road, not a circle or a loop road) and total number of permanent homes.

Bill Coleman, an engineer for the CTC, said that although Rockton Thruway doesn’t have a large number of total points, the priority list is applied district by district, and District 7 is almost completely paved.

“Rockton Thruway doesn’t have many points,” Coleman said, “but District 7 doesn’t have many roads left to be paved. All of District 6 is paved and there are a few left in District 7, so a few points will get your road paved in District 7.”

Rockton Thruway has actually moved down the list, Coleman said, and not up as Brandenburg told Council last week. Following the revision of the formula in 2013, Coleman said, Rockton Thruway went from number 35 down to number 56. The road is, however, scheduled to be paved in 2015.

Brandenburg, meanwhile, told The Voice Tuesday that she had requested a meeting with the CTC to clarify how they made their tabulations.

“They calculated it wrong,” Brandenburg said. “I would like to see their math.”

Brandenburg said she had recently, using the 2013 formula, calculated Rockton Thruway and found it did not have enough points to merit paving in 2015.

“Any way you figure it, they did it wrong,” she said.