Shop Road, a major avenue for travel between Interstate 77 and Williams-Brice Stadium and the State Fairgrounds as well as a frequent truck path for the industrial businesses that pepper the corridor, is set to be widened using funds from the Richland County transportation penny tax program.
The roughly 2-mile stretch of Shop between George Rogers Boulevard and South Beltline Boulevard is proposed to be widened to four travel lanes with a center turn lane, flanked by some combination of bike lanes, sidewalks and shared-use paths.
Suggested plans for the project will be presented for public information and comment Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Olympia Learning Center, 621 Bluff Road, Columbia.
Construction on the $36.3 million project is expected to begin in 2019, according to Rob Perry, the county’s transportation director.
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For River Rat Brewery owner Mike Tourville, the prospect of losing any of his property to a wider Shop Road is disconcerting. “They’re going to be right at my front door,” he said. “If I lose any square footage, it’s going to hurt my business big time.”
Other than on University of South Carolina football gamedays and a few days of State Fair traffic in the fall, Tourville said, “the road flows perfectly” as it is.
On the other hand, a wider Shop Road likely will have a positive impact on Harvest Hope Food Bank, spokesman Ash Little said.
Turning left into the Harvest Hope parking lot can be dangerous at times, Little said, as the food bank sits right where the road currently transitions from two to five lanes.
“People are just coming at you wide open” when waiting to turn left, Little said. “There’s a lot of traffic down here, so I do think we could benefit from a widened road.”
Plus, Little said, given a sidewalk or bicycle path, he would probably bike to work more often.
Other penny tax road projects in the area of the State Fairgrounds and I-77 are on tap to begin construction in the next one to three years: widening Bluff Road between I-77 and Rosewood Drive; widening Atlas Road between Bluff and Garners Ferry Road; widening Pineview Road between Bluff and Garners Ferry; and extending Shop Road from Pineview to Longwood Road.
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.
If you go
What: Public meeting for information and comments on plans to widen Shop Road
When: 5-7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Olympia Learning Center, 621 Bluff Road, Columbia