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distortedlogic

SC Roads

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I wanted to reference a report that I heard today about SC roads, and just decided to open the thread for future discussion on all things related to SC road use, construction, needs, and progress (if any). I heard a report today that SC will need 22 Billion over the next ten years just to make repairs and necesarry improvments to SC roadways. It also stated that 42% of all roadways are now considered "congested" (who knows what that really means), and that between 1990 and 2006, the need for highway improvements increased at 10 times the rate in which they were actually performed (much of course due to the growth over that period, though it is not anywhere near the growth of neighboring GA and NC). What do you guys think, will SC roads ever measure up? Why does GA and NC have so much better roads, is it purely a gas state tax thing? Is it DOT mismanagement? What can be done? I know just in the Upstate that there seems to be an endless need for road improvements, both repair and new construction.

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NC does NOT have better roads. I'll have more to say later. Good topic :)

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Indeed. SC has much much better quality roads than NC. I recommend a drive up I-77 for very good example of it.

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Very interesting. I have not actually done much traveling in NC over the past few years, but will be going to Durham via 85/40 next month, so that will give me a chance to check it out. But last I remember, I thought that the highways around Charlotte (at least) seemed far superior to the ones around the Upstate. I do a good bit of driving around the upstate, and I can tell you that the roads are awful with potholes, rough places, half-patches, no shoulders, and not enough lanes.

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The roads in the Charlotte area are totally inadequate for the needs of the city. Unlike SC, the NCDOT controls all highway building in NC. Counties are not allowed to build roads and cities, with few exceptions, can only own city streets. The state has an equity formula that basically requires that if a $1 is spent in an urban area, then they spend a $ in a rural area to build a road. This is why NC's cities have roads that are built years late and are already at capacity when they are finally finished. I-485 for example was approved around 1982, yet it now appears that it won't be finished until some time in the 2020s. The section they are working on now is more than a year behind schedule.

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Having lived in GA, I can say that SC roads are about on par, if not a bit better.

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I agree with most of you guys. I don't understand why most people in SC think that we have some of the worst roads in the country. We certainly do not. Try driving through Alabama....I thought my car was going to fall apart and jump into a ditch.

SCDOT has been named one of the most efficient DOTs in the nation. I guess you have to be when you have the lowest gas tax.

Our roads certainly aren't perfect, but with the rising cost of construction materials, more funding is needed to meet our infrastructure needs.

Edited by BrasilnSC

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The roads in the Charlotte area are totally inadequate for the needs of the city. Unlike SC, the NCDOT controls all highway building in NC. Counties are not allowed to build roads and cities, with few exceptions, can only own city streets. The state has an equity formula that basically requires that if a $1 is spent in an urban area, then they spend a $ in a rural area to build a road. This is why NC's cities have roads that are built years late and are already at capacity when they are finally finished. I-485 for example was approved around 1982, yet it now appears that it won't be finished until some time in the 2020s. The section they are working on now is more than a year behind schedule.

Not only that, North Carolina's rural cities get these ridiculous roads that have capacity several centuries beyond their need. NCDOT has so many problems that I don't think its possible to explain them all here. They are unfortunately caught up in the politics of NC, which are rooted in the rural "downeast" part of the state, which is sort of like the Lowcountry here in South Carolina.

In Charlotte, you will find that many state roads are in fact well maintained, and that is because the City of Charlotte takes over the roads and actually maintains them. The City does a much better job of it that the State could possibly do. The exception is Federally funded highways and state-numbered highways.

Georgia DOT just has flat out good roads. I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that Georgia does not try to control every road in the state like NC and SC do (they have the 1st and 4th largest road networks in the nation respectively).

SCDOT does a decent job. I always find that the roads in this state are generally well maintained. Sure the interstates are bad, but I think that might be routed in a federal funding issue, or perhaps something that we are not aware in the general public.

One thing that SCDOT does not do well is urban streets. Under their current rules, it would be impossible to have Greenville's Main Street. They don't allow the needed flexibility in urban places to build a complete street, which often means something slightly narrower than normal and without turning lanes. They also have yet to acknowledge that street trees are not hazards to vehicles, but actually slow them down and have a tendency of improving the built environment for everyone by providing shade and a buffer for pedestrians from traffic.

SCDOT does do Bike & Ped stuff pretty well in that they actually include these elements in some of their projects. This is not true for GDOT and NCDOT. Most newly widened state roads are getting bicycle lanes in urban places, and they often include sidewalks where appropriate. I think its important to give SCDOT credit where they deserve it, because they do a much better job than NCDOT.

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I'll echo captain worley - SC roads aren't that bad compared to GA. But GA does prioritize certain roads, primarily interstate highways & major state corridors & does a decent job of maintaining them. Once you get on the back roads - SC roads are better.

Also from past drives through NC, they can be incredibly bad - especially I-85. For the past 2 decades there always seems to be at least one 10 or 20 mile stretch that is under construction & also stretches as long that are full of quickie pothole fills. NC DOT also loves to prioritize on pork barrel projects - building redundant limited access highways, especially as spartan mentioned in eastern NC. Just look at a map.

On a national level, at least in the past (1980's) SC ranked high regarding highway maintenance, but even today SC roads are better than a majority of the highways I've driven in the south, midwest & western US.

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I'll see your I-77 in NC & raise you an I-95 in SC. Talk about a road that's in dire shape!

Also, I question anyone who thinks GA roads are worse than SC's. All one needs to do is drive US 17, SC 170, US 17-A, SC 642 & SC 14. THEN tell me GA roads are worse....

The worst roads I've ever encountered are in Louisiana & Illinois. The best I've experienced are in Georgia, Florida & Virginia.

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I-20 in northern Louisiana is the most dreadful interstate stretch I've ever driven on.

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I'll see your I-77 in NC & raise you an I-95 in SC. ....
I-95 at the border crossing is not in the middle of the biggest urban area of the Carolinas. In fact it is rather remote and mostly used by through traffic. I-77 on the other hand is right in the middle of a 2.4M CSA and the level of investment on the NC side is dismal considering this is inside the Charlotte city limits, yet it is only 6 lanes, suffers from really bad maintenance, and most of the lights don't even work. In comparison the York county side of the road is a nice 8 lane interstate that is well lighted and suited to the levels of traffic in this area.

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I-77 through Rock Hill is beautiful. But ass soon as you cross into Mecklenburg County. Bump bump

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Well what does everyone think about the $22 Billion figure? Do you think that will cover everything that needs to be done? What are some key needs in your area? What has been improved lately in your area?

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SC has a lot of substandard bridges, and I expect that will eat up a lot of the budget. Widening I-26, the remainder of I-85, and repairing I-95 will also be substantial (though we should get federal funding for some of that). There are too many state roads to name that are in a state of disrepair... not signed routes mind you, but just state-maintained roadways (anything with SR-xx-xxx on those little black signs).

Then there's transit, if indeed SCDOT is on board with implementing that. Columbia and Charleston are looking at commuter rail, Greenville at BRT. Then there is High Speed Rail that is coming down the hopper.

As it stands today, I think to do everything that it needs to do, SCDOT will need more that $22 billion.

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US 17 between Savannah and Charleston always ends up being the flagship road for South Carolina as many people do travel this road and many fatalities have occurred. While Beaufort County is busy doing their part to widen the highway as it should be, there is still a major part of the highway that needs to be widened through Colleton County and a small part in Jasper County from the Tallmadge Bridge to the first SC 170 intersection that would make this the highway it needs to be throughout South Carolina

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US 17 between Savannah and Charleston always ends up being the flagship road for South Carolina as many people do travel this road and many fatalities have occurred. While Beaufort County is busy doing their part to widen the highway as it should be, there is still a major part of the highway that needs to be widened through Colleton County and a small part in Jasper County from the Tallmadge Bridge to the first SC 170 intersection that would make this the highway it needs to be throughout South Carolina

It's a shame for people who travel to Hilton head/Beaufort by way of Savannah for their first impressions of SC to be shaped by a horrendously bumpy & pot-holed US 17. At least one of the old strip clubs is being demolished.

I'm still in some awe as to why I-16 isn't brought over the Talmadge Bridge into SC, and then terminates on I-95 near exit 8. Talk about a great way to expedite traffic between Savannah & Jasper/Beaufort Cos.

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US 17 between Savannah and Charleston always ends up being the flagship road for South Carolina as many people do travel this road and many fatalities have occurred. While Beaufort County is busy doing their part to widen the highway as it should be, there is still a major part of the highway that needs to be widened through Colleton County and a small part in Jasper County from the Tallmadge Bridge to the first SC 170 intersection that would make this the highway it needs to be throughout South Carolina

Hey, welcome to UP!

We discussed this highway at length last summer--look for the topic "U.S. 17 in between Beaufort and Charleston, When will they widen this road!?!?" to see what was said. Several of my posts complained bitterly (to no avail, of course) especially about the atrocious length of highway between the Talmadge Bridge and where it widens to four lanes a few miles north (you know, where the four lanes are NOT needed). I did see one of the old "nudie joints" being cordoned off, but I didn't realize it was due to demolition--woo hoo! :yahoo:

Now if we could just do some more mass demolitions and widen the cursed quote/un-quote "road"!

Edited by digital_sandlapper

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That section of US17 is notoriously the worst in the state as far as crashed and fatalities are concerned. There are definitely plans to widen it... its just that acquiring the ROW has been a hassle. Its not a matter of "if" its a matter of "when."

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In the latest Complete the Streets Newsletter, I came across this:

Trouble in South Carolina?

Bicycle advocates in South Carolina are concerned that the state DOT Commission may be considering rescinding its complete streets policy. The DOT, under economic pressure, believes shelving its policy will save on costs. However, our research is showing that complete streets do not significantly raise costs, and are an investment in the community that provides low-cost transportation options to cash-strapped citizens. (See our benefits fact sheets on the economic benefits to communities and individuals [new!]). If you live in South Carolina, please join Charleston Moves and the Palmetto Cycling Coalition in sending a letter to your DOT Commissioner, emphasizing the value and importance of this policy. Charleston Moves has posted a sample letter that you can modify to include more on the economic sense of complete streets.

-----

This is scary. I hope that everyone will write SCDOT to let them know you want complete streets!

You can find your local SCDOT Commissioner's contact information here: http://www.dot.state.sc.us/inside/commission.shtml

The Charleston Moves link that I posted has a form letter you can use. I'd suggest using your own words if you can.

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I wonder how highway construction funds are being spread in SC. This post could be put in the SC Highways forum if there is one, or in the SC Politics forum. But economic development as it relates to highway improvements is a strong theme in the attached article from the NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/09/us/09pro...tml?_r=1&hp

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The planned $500 million seven-mile connector from I-526 to James Island in the Charleston area that many Lowcountry residents oppose is preventing the state from awarding money for major road, rail and bridge projects in other parts of South Carolina. Critics say the seven-mile connector from Interstate 526 to James Island is unnecessary, expensive and won’t improve traffic flow. They also note that it will open development corridors in ecologically important areas, such as Johns Island.

Statewide, officials in other counties have asked for funds from the SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank, but also are waiting. Project requests include $221 million to extend Dave Lyle Boulevard in York County, $63 million to improve Interstate 20 in Aiken County near the Savannah River Site and $86 million to complete the Bluffton Parkway in Beaufort County, according to the transportation department. In the Columbia area, local officials want a new road linking Columbia Metropolitan Airport to Interstate 26, which is expected to cost $80 million. The other is the rail and street improvement project, which would affect Assembly, Huger and North Main streets. That’s expected to cost about $100 million.

If the I-526 extension goes through, it will be years before bank money is available to pay for other projects, DOT officials acknowledged. For now, the bank would need more incoming revenue to provide money for additional projects.

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^ Out of those projects, only the I-20 improvement in Aiken County truly sounds necessary. As long as the Dave Lyle extension idea has been proposed (I remember it from the 80's) it would only succeed in spreading sprawl westward to Lancaster County.

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I'd rather see the Assembly St project in Columbia happen if 526 can't be completed.

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I'd rather see the Assembly St project in Columbia happen if 526 can't be completed.

I have to agree.....it's the only urban project and will have the most positive impact, IMO. The others all seem to promote sprawl.

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