Delemar widening stops short

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Leslie Cantu/Journal Scene -- Neighbors and parents examine the plans for widening Delemar Highway. --

While thrilled at the prospect of finally getting the treacherous road to Ashley Ridge High School widened, neighbors and parents were dismayed Thursday to learn the project extends only to the first entrance to the school.
About 30 people came to the high school cafeteria to review Dennis Corporation’s plans for the widening of S.C. 165, also called Delemar Highway.
The current plan calls for a five lane road, bike lanes and sidewalk from Carolinian Drive to the bus entrance for the school – but not all the way past the second and third entrances used by students and spectators at football games.
“We see the traffic. We see how the kids are driving. They’re driving like maniacs. I just don’t understand. What’s 200 more yards?” said David DuBose.
Matthew Watson, an engineer with Dennis, said the company hadn’t planned the widening to the third entrance because there have already been safety improvements directly in front of the school.
It would be something the company considers as it gets public comments, however, he said.
Matt Halter, Dorchester County public works director, said Dennis will look at extending the project.
“I think it makes sense,” he said.
Although the length of the widening was the greatest concern to most attendees, some saw other aspects of the project that could be improved.
Amelia Spitzer was worried about students driving recklessly in a construction zone.
Watson said the company will work on the road in stages – first by paving over and slightly widening the existing road, then by working alongside the road, then by diverting traffic onto the new section to finish off the original section.
That answer didn’t completely allay Spitzer’s concerns, as she was still worried about the initial phases.
Students drive too fast there, she said – her son was rear-ended twice during his school career and lost a tire to a pothole.
Meanwhile, Carla Hood wondered why the sidewalk to the school didn’t connect to the sidewalk planned for Bacons Bridge Road north of S.C. 61.
Hood, who lives on Carolinian Drive, also thought there should be a traffic light at the Delemar and Carolinian intersection.
Otherwise, she said, she would never be able to turn left onto Delemar Highway to go toward town.
Despite those criticisms, everyone was happy to see the project finally coming to fruition.
“I just want to see it done,” said Ray Smith, whose nephew attended the school.
“I’m thrilled that the project is beginning. It can’t begin fast enough,” Spitzer said.
Halter said the Dorchester County Sales Tax Transportation Authority has been asked to consider building a sidewalk from the intersection of Bacons Bridge Road and S.C. 61 to Carolinian Drive, where it can connect with the Delemar Highway sidewalk.
Construction on the road is planned to begin late this year. The goal is to finish by the 2014 school year.
The county is taking written comments about the project until May 31.
To access the comment form, go to www.dorchestercounty.net, click on “about us,” click on “calendar” and click on the “S.C. 165” meeting listed on May 16.

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