Clamored for traffic safety improvements are coming to Fort Mill.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation approved for Cherokee Inc. to build concrete medians to change the traffic flow on S.C. 160. Two of the heaviest road congestion areas on and in Fort Mill — Market Street at Baxter, Textile Way/Kingsley Park Drive at Kingsley — will be affected.
The Baxter and Kingsley entrances will become right-in, right-out only at Highway 160. Dual left turn lanes already on S.C. 160 onto Kingsley Springs Boulevard will extend an additional 200 feet.
Construction begins June 24. Work should be done in September.
Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study group has a long list of roads with possible short-, medium- and long-term fixes relying on limiting or eliminating left turn traffic, including Celanese Road in Rock Hill and several I-77 interchanges.
According to RFATS, left turns into and out of Kingsley and Baxter cause more wrecks than other points on fronting the highway . They also stall traffic at peak times. Businesses in the Kingsley area have reached out to officials looking for answers.
Fort Mill Mayor Guynn Savage has said companies like Lash Group, LPL Financial, Domtar are concerned about hiring and keeping employees because of traffic problems and safety concerns at the entrances.
“They built. They employed. They brought tax dollars to our region,” Savage said in November. “And I don’t want that to stop.”
The change comes as more people move into the area, particularly Fort Mill, and transportation needs grow. RFATS and York County officials are studying mass transit options including a light rail connection from Charlotte to Rock Hill. Rock Hill recently began a free electric bus service.