Rock Hill residents hope 'Fix Ebinport’ signs will spur faster road repair

adouglas@heraldonline.comFebruary 25, 2014 

A group of Rock Hill residents hope they’ve found a new way to draw attention to the need to repave Ebinport Road.

Over the weekend, pink and green signs reading “Fix Ebinport Road” and some homemade yard signs started popping up along the road which connects Cherry, India Hook and Celanese roads.

Paul Anderko, a local political activist, is leading the group. Residents say they aren’t happy that Ebinport Road has been on a York County road work list since 2003. County officials say Ebinport Road has not been forgotten, but other major road projects are also pending and there’s not enough money to complete all road repairs at once.

Maintenance responsibility of Ebinport Road falls to the S.C. Department of Transportation.

But in 2003, York County voters approved spending “Pennies for Progress” money to improve the road. The county uses an added penny-on-the-dollar sales tax to raise money for road work through the Pennies program.

York County’s plans for Ebinport include widening the road to include a center turn lane and adding sidewalks in places where there are only shallow road ditches. Initially, the county estimated that the work would cost around $6 million.

Now, the price tag for the Ebinport Road project is about $13.5 million.

Phil Leazer, Pennies for Progress program manager, said the jump in cost came after a consultant reviewed in 2009 all of York County’s road work projects at the request of the County Council.

The consultant gave county officials a “realistic” estimate of what each project would cost, Leazer said. The review process updated the estimated cost for several road projects. So far, the consultant’s estimates, he said, have been close to the actual costs for recent completed projects.

Some initial design and planning work for Ebinport Road has been finished, Leazer said. But it will likely be at least three more years before construction could begin.

Leazer has met with Anderko in the past to discuss the resident’s frustrations with the wait to see improvements to Ebinport Road.

Ronald Shugart, 59, is one Ebinport Road resident who has started calling local and state officials to put pressure on them to fix the street’s problems sooner rather than later.

Like some other residents, Shugart says he’s annoyed by the potholes on Ebinport Road and by the temporary road patches that don’t hold up for long. For exercise, he walks along the road multiple times a day.

The lack of sidewalks on Ebinport Road, he said, is also frustrating. And, it’s potentially dangerous for the dozens of schoolchildren walking to and from home or waiting for the school bus.

Ebinport Road helps carry traffic for two Rock Hill schools: Ebinport Elementary and Sullivan Middle. During the weekday, morning traffic is often backed up along Ebinport Road, Shugart said.

In the afternoon, he said, “there’s a handful of young’uns that walk this road and there’s going to be a day when one of them gets hit.”

Until Tuesday afternoon, Shugart was one of nearly 20 people along Ebinport Road with a “Fix Ebinport” sign in his yard. Around 2 p.m., he noticed his and two other “Fix Ebinport” signs were missing.

He plans to replace the sign, possibly help pay for more signs, and start attending local government meetings until officials do something to repair Ebinport Road, he said.

Leazer says he understands residents’ frustrations, and he and others are diligently working to complete more Pennies road projects. He drives on Ebinport Road nearly every day, he said, to take his daughters to day care.

This week, while riding in the car, he said his daughters seemed as frustrated with the bumpy ride as some Ebinport Road residents are.

As Leazer checked out the “Fix Ebinport” signs, one of his daughters quipped, “Daddy, you need to fix this road.”

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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