|DOT road paving has begun, but progress will be slow because of the deplorable state of our roads.|
Last week the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission met for the first time since the new gas tax increase went into effect on July 1st. With this being the first meeting since the increase, many eyes were on SCDOT to see what specific projects this money would be spent on. SCDOT released a broad game-plan for the new funds which they pitched to the lawmakers and the public this spring in anticipation of the new revenue passing the legislature. This plan included the majority of new funds to be spent on resurfacing, improving rural road safety, and replacing structurally deficient bridges.
The SCDOT commission met last week and approved a $26.5 million dollar roads package from new gas tax revenue and County Transportation Committee funding that will resurface and rehabilitate more than 200 road miles in 27 counties.
Upstate Counties included on the list were Anderson, Abbeville, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Cherokee counties.
If you’re curious as to what specific roads made the list, SCDOT has listings and maps of each road segment that was approved for repaving in a document found online here. The document is quite lengthy, but information on the above counties can be found on the following pages:
Anderson- pg 152
Greenville- pg 191
Greenwood- pg 160
Laurens- pg 167
Oconee- pg 195
Pickens- pg 196
Spartanburg- pg 198
Cherokee- pg 200
While the road segments approved may seem small and few, the deplorable condition of our state’s roads make them more costly to repair, making even new funding only stretch so far. The longer road maintenance is deferred, the more expensive it becomes. Reconstructing a road can cost up to ten times as much as repaving a road, and can cost as much as $500,000 per road mile. With South Carolina’s gas tax (which primarily funds our roads) not being increased in almost 30 years, we’re paying a much higher price now than we would have had we maintained them in the first place.
For the Upstate specifically, SCDOT plans to use the new funds over the next ten years to widen Interstate-85 from Greenville to the North Carolina line, replace 132 bridges, and make a number of safety improvements to some of the Upstate’s most deadly, rural roads.
While road cones won’t be put out overnight, the Upstate can look forward to having safer, smoother roads to drive on in the years to come.