YORK COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - South Carolina Department of Transportation officials are giving you a chance to weigh in on the project that will help ease traffic congestion at the interchange of SC-160 and I-77.
The SCDOT is holding an open-house meeting this Thursday night from 5-7pm at Real Life Church on Pleasant Road.
WBTV spoke to DOT officials ahead of the meeting who say as SC 160 near Baxter Village and Kingsley continues to see explosive growth and 30,000 vehicles passing through the area each day, the current set-up isn’t sustainable.
“The traffic is nearly going to double over the next 20 years,” said SCDOT Program Manager Barry Mattox, referring to a growth demand model.
Before that happens, SCDOT says the goal is to help traffic flow, reduce congestion, and increase safety.
Right now SC-160 forces drivers headed in either direction to cross over traffic to turn onto I-77 at exit 85. That coupled with thru traffic trying to get to the ever-growing Kingsley complex or Baxter Village can make for a mess.
In an effort to help, SCDOT has proposed three potential solutions. The first would be to construct a “Diverging Diamond” like the one being built on Gold Hill Road (exit 88 off I-77).
“If you’re coming from the Lake Wylie or Tega Cay side, you will approach the interchange- at a signalized intersection, and you will start driving and be shifted over and start driving on what would’ve appeared to be the opposite approach,” said Mattox. “You’re going to be driving on the left side of the road and what that does is aids the left turn- which is a heavy turn movement particularly in the morning with people commuting toward Charlotte.”
The next option is called a SPUI or Single Point Urban Interchange.
“It collapses the two existing interchanges so you have a single point interchange,” said Mattox. “Rather than stopping twice- you stop once.” DOT officials say with this design traffic would still have to crossover the intersection to get onto the highway.
The third option is called a Directional Interchange. If picked, it would mean the addition of two new bridges over I-77 to allow cars to enter the interstate without crossing over 160.
“All of them work, all of them are a vast improvement, but right now it looks like the third option, the directional interchange best accommodates the future demand,” added Mattox.
DOT officials say the project will cost anywhere from $30-60 million and will be funded federally by RFATS (Rock Hill Fort Mill Area Transportation Study). Mattox also say they’ve heard some concerns about accommodations for bikes and pedestrians in the designs. He adds that is important and will be taken into account once they decide which plan will be constructed.
DOT officials say if you can’t make the drop-in meeting, you can submit your feedback on the ideas over the next two weeks by visiting the project’s website.