Road changes could be funded

February 27 (was) an exciting day for Pickens County. For the first time since the State Infrastructure Bank was created in 1997, our county is applying for road funding for two significant projects: (a) to widen SC 183 to four lanes from Greenville County line to SC 135 and (b) to continue extension of SC 153 from Saluda Dam Road to SC 183 by way of Olive Street, Glenwood Road and SC 135. Both projects will have the same terminus.

The other unprecedented, exciting aspect is the local entities worked together. The state delegation, county council, county transportation committee (CTC), and GPATS have all indicated their support of the application.

The estimated cost of the project is $104 million. A match is required and the state delegation (through the CTC) and the county council have agreed to set aside $1,056,000 per year for 20 years — $750,000 from the CTC and $306,000 from the county. This would amount to a 15% match.

If approved, the projects would bring in $83 million in road funding and improve the two most dangerous and congested roads in the county. It is estimated that traffic on SC 183 alone will double in the next 17 years. With seven fatalities in the past five years and its limited mileage, it is arguably one of the most dangerous roads in South Carolina.

The application deadline ends (Feb. 28) and review will be this calendar year. Nothing is guaranteed as the STIB Board and DOT must approve within their limited funds, but we believe the projects’ need and match are strong.

I would like to personally thank the state delegation, county council, CTC, and GPATS for their cooperation and quick action. A special thank you to GPATS Transportation Manager Keith Brockington, Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven, Bob Knight, and Pickens County Council Chairman Roy Costner for their four months of work and support.

Neal Collins

District 5

House of Representatives

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