July 22, 2024

The Nerve Archive

Where Government Gets Exposed

Readers Wonder: Who Asked for These Projects?

Road Closed


Last Friday’s column by Jamie Murguia on secret meetings between Department of Transportation and local Chamber of Commerce officials elicited several responses about DOT projects seemingly designed for developers or other private companies, with no consultation with the public at all. We’re not sure what the protocol is when a traffic improvement seems to be necessary, but surely discernible public need plays some role in the process. Yet from what we are learning from readers, it sometimes isn’t.

This is from Bill in the Lowcountry:

You are right about DOT and their secret meetings with business. On Route 61 near Summerville, where one developer is creating a huge new housing development called Summers Corner, DOT inexplicably constructed a traffic roundabout, solely to accommodate the developer. 

None of the residents ever requested such a thing, there have been no traffic incidents at the place they erected it, and it is now a traffic obstruction, not an improvement at all. Roundabouts have an engineering purpose and are appropriate in some locations, just as speed bumps are in parking lots, but not on high speed major highways and where no one expects them, especially on unlit roads. 

This particular one would seem to have been a solution looking for a problem and will likely cause one when impaired drivers come upon it suddenly. DOT says it plans to erect more in place of traffic lights. The studies they site are not necessarily applicable to this location and others planned. No one asked or informed the public about this construction and it now creates more of a danger and impedes traffic flow.

And this, from Jay in the Upstate:

Ms. Murguia’s story on secret meetings made me think of a road near our home – I checked and it’s a state road – what was perfectly serviceable before DOT worked on it. For reasons unknown to anyone nearby, they put a median between the two traffic lanes. In the median they planted shrubs and trees. I have no particular objection to a nice median with shrubs and trees, but why? It serves no purpose that I can fathom. And the shrubs are not well kept, so now it’s looking pretty bleak. I just want to know who made this decision. No one I know was asking for it, and it wasn’t needed.

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