CLEMSON — Drivers in Richland County could see the first road improvement projects funded by a local sales tax completed by year’s end.
Meeting in Clemson for a two-day planning retreat, Richland County Council members seemed eager to get started on six intersection improvement projects outlined by transportation director Rob Perry.
The $15 million in construction could involve enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists at the intersections as well, said Perry and his deputy, Chris Gossett.
“I’m ready,” several members chimed in after Perry asked for an endorsement.
First, the county must resolve a protest over the hiring of a project management firm brought by the second-place finisher. Chairman Norman Jackson said he’s hopeful there will be a resolution soon.
The six intersection improvements would be the first tangible sign of progress after voters approved a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax for transportation improvements to roads, bus service and trails.
Until now, Perry has said unidentified dirt-road paving and suburban resurfacing projects probably would be the first projects completed. Thursday, he said it looks like those projects will proceed alongside the intersection improvements.
He’s also moving forward on a list of sidewalk improvements in coordination with the S.C. Department of Transportation.
He said the county’s project management firm, ICA Engineering, had suggested moving forward on the intersections as well.
Perry said each intersection will be studied to settle on the changes needed, but they would include such things as adding turns lanes, straightening or widening lanes, adding bike lanes and sidewalks, or putting in pedestrian signals.
“We would expect at least one of the six to be completed by the end of the year,” Perry said.
The intersections are:
• Broad River Road and Rushmore Drive
• North Springs Road and Risdon Way
• North Springs Road and Clemson Road
• Summit Parkway and Summit Ridge
• Farrow Road and Pisgah Church Road
• Kennerly Road and Steeple Ridge
The six are among 15 major intersections identified for voters, who approved the transportation sales tax in 2012. The tax will continue for 22 years or until it raises $1.07 billion, whichever comes first.
Perry said the six were chosen because of ease of design.