Wed, 03/22/2023 - 9:58am admin
Clements Ferry Road widening sequel on cue for November 2024
Zach Giroux, email@example.com
Clements Ferry Road Widening Phase 2 project is officially past the halfway point of construction. As the lanes become wider, the traffic flow is projected to improve, at least that’s the intended goal.
Berkeley County’s four-year, $74 million capital project is 56% complete on time and 63.3% complete on cost, according to South Carolina Department of Transportation’s March update. If all goes to plan, the 4.5 miles strip from Jack Primus Road to Highway 41 near the Wando River will be a four-lane configuration by Nov. 30, 2024.
“Berkeley County Council and leadership are excited to watch this project continue to steadily progress,” said Berkeley County Councilman Josh Whitley. “We look forward to its completion and the many ways it will improve traffic congestion and increase safety for all its travelers.”
Commuters of all sorts can expect a raised planted median, curb and gutter on the widened roadway. Also, pedestrians can anticipate sidewalks on the south side of the road and a multiuse path along the north and south sides.
However, approximately 100 property owners will still be required to relocate various utilities and relinquish their right of way in order to make way for the asphalt walkways.
Before paving commences, several ongoing project activities must be completed. The following is a list of construction work that is currently underway or scheduled to take place in the near future, according to SCDOT:
● Bridge deck construction at Martins Creek
● Storm drainage near Cainhoy Road across from Lowco Cafe
● Slight traffic shift between Reflectance Road and SC 41
● Storm drainage across from SC 41 after traffic shift
● Water line installation at Un-Named Creek bridge site
● Water line installation near Jack Primus Road
As for electrical utilities, AT&T, Home Telecom and Xfinity are continuing to relocate facilities as needed. Dominion Electric has removed all poles no longer supporting telecom cables. Street lighting will be installed toward the end of 2024.
SCDOT’s report noted that the project remains in compliance with all permits and environmental commitments.
COLLISIONS AND MORE
It’s no secret that Clements Ferry Road has a speeding problem. The 45-55 mph straightway with four signalized intersections was once designed for big box trucks. Now, it serves as a freeway for those racing to and from the I-526 interstate.
Since the beginning of this year, a few dozen collisions have taken place along Clements Ferry Road. One in which resulted in the death of a 7-year-old boy on Feb. 16, according to the Berkeley County Coroner’s Office.
Twenty-seven collisions have occurred on Clements Ferry Road since Jan. 1, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol. Of those, eight people have been injured and one killed.
Charleston Police Department’s data report is similar, but tells a different story. One of equal negligence.
During the span of the last three months, Charleston P.D. reported 24 collisions, 59 citations and 18 warnings. Forty-three of those citations were for speeding and one was for driving under the influence.
“The Charleston Police Department has conducted collision analysis and is aware that Clements Ferry Road is a one of our priority areas for traffic enforcement,” said Charleston P.D. Lt. Sean Engles.
Engles noted that 10 Traffic Unit officers share patrol of the area six days a week from 7 a.m until 4 a.m. the following day.
When asking Clements Ferry residents what their driving experience has been like lately, the common reply indicates less than satisfactory.
Last month, Beresford Hall resident Lynn Cobb and her son were the victims of an accident caused by an oncoming vehicle making a left-hand turn coming out of the Grande Oaks Apartments across from the Daniel Island Marina.
“When you take a left out of there it’s all or nothing,” Cobb said. “There is no place to stop in the middle.”
Luckily, Cobb’s brand new Volvo was not totaled and the airbags didn’t deploy. She and her son walked away unscathed without any serious injuries.
Cobb admitted she does not feel safe driving on Clements Ferry in its current state. “Clements Ferry is feeling like a highway.”
Cobb feels that the engineering of the roadway in terms of the configuration of traffic lights plays a pivotal role in motorist safety more so than speeding or distracted driving.
Another resident chimed in and shared a similar sentiment on the left-turn scenario. “Horrible experience,” Michelle Romano said. “You feel like you are going to get into an accident every time. Even with the middle lane that you can go into, it’s extremely scary.”
Jess Taylor’s biggest concern, aside from the imminent danger associated with making a left-hand turn without a traffic light, is the lack of street lighting.
“The lack of light is absurd,” Taylor said. “Why aren’t there any street lights? It’s so dark whether you have good eyesight or not. Between the length of the road and the amount of neighborhoods, motorists, wildlife etc., lights would absolutely be beneficial to helping motorists
see what’s going on around them.”
Romano agreed that traffic lights and roadway lighting should be “top priority.”
Taylor noted that she believes the lane expansion will be a “positive upgrade.” She thinks it will break up the flow of traffic enough to give motorists the opportunity to pull out of their neighborhood or place of business.
“It’s imperative we have a safer road,” Taylor added. “The ‘open road’ is a calling for gaining speed and more speed. Except the punchline is it’s not an open road because there are more motorists on this road than there ever have been.”
Beresford Hall and Point Hope are the only developments on Clements Ferry Road that have traffic lights. The average daily traffic count is 14,200 vehicles, according SCDOT’s estimations.