Dozens of property owners who live and work along Shop Road stand to be affected by Richland County’s $36 million plan to widen the road in three years.
Many of them will lose yards of their property to right-of-way acquisition for the widening project, which will be funded by the Richland County transportation penny sales tax program. And at least a dozen homes and businesses could be forced to relocate because of encroachment, according to maps provided by the county.
Four possible plans for widening the road to five lanes between George Rogers Boulevard and South Beltline Boulevard were presented Thursday at a public input meeting, where some residents and business owners shared both positive and negative thoughts about the project.
A wider Shop Road has been a long time coming, said James Cleveland, who grew up in the Little Camden community that sits between Shop and Bluff roads.
His mother, who is in her 90s, still lives in the community. She sits on her porch and counts the cars that pass on Bluff. Since a host of university students have moved into the area in recent years, traffic has increased abundantly, Cleveland said.
Nearby, David Love’s Service Machine Co. business stands to reap benefits and burdens from the widening project.
Tractor trailers come in and out of his business daily, and additional travel lanes and a turn lane will certainly benefit their travel, said Love, president and general manager of the machine maintenance business.
But only this year, the business installed a new entrance gate. The road widening will eat into the property and force the business to move back the new gate. Plus, road construction will eventually pose a hardship on large trucks driving into and out of the business.
But the end result, Love noted, will be a better traffic flow and safer turning area in front of the business.
“It’s an interesting concept of what they want to do,” Love said. “I think it probably needs to be done. I just think somebody besides the people in power should have been contacted prior to developing these plans.”
Reach Ellis at (803) 771-8307.