Drivers know where the traffic is in York, Lancaster and Chester counties. Traffic that, in some places, is just about as congested as anywhere in the state.
South Carolina has more than 12,000 sites where they measure annual average daily traffic. Or, easier said, the total number of vehicles that travel a section of road in a year, divided by 365. The tri-county area has 832 count sites.
Combing through all that data on traffic takes longer than sitting in it, but it also shows how this growing area compares with some of the other hot spots in all 46 counties.
Here are a few takeaways based on the 2018 counts:
Predictably, interstates generate the most traffic. York County plays a role. Three of the 10 highest counts statewide last year, and five of the top 13, came from Interstate 77 in York County. Fort Mill interstate traffic outpaces Rock Hill. The closer to Charlotte, the more traffic.
In the tri-county area, it’s the same story. Interstates dominate. Only one non-interstate road had more traffic than any of the 15 interstate sites, and even then only two of them.
The highest counts for traffic on non-interstate roads are near interstates and close to water. The top dozen statewide are in Charleston (top six overall; 14 of the top 25), Horry, Beaufort and Berkeley counties along the coast.
In York County, the first area road on the non-interstate list is S.C. 161 between Mt. Gallant and Cherry roads in Rock Hill, at No. 26.
Still, 126 tri-county roads recorded 10,000 or more vehicles per day.
York County ranks high for traffic on state highways. There are plenty of them, plus the county was the earliest to adopt a sales tax to fund roads improvements when Pennies for Progress arrived in 1997.
County voters elected four times to charge themselves. The result is wider and smoother roads than the state system otherwise would’ve expected. Other counties followed York County’s lead in the decades since.
Statewide there are traffic counts for almost 2,200 sections of state highway.
- York County has nine of the top 100 for 2018:
- S.C. 161 between Mt. Gallant and Cherry was No. 6 among state highways at 47,200 vehicles per day.
- S.C. 161 between India Hook and Mt. Gallant (No. 16) had 42,500.
- Following were Dave Lyle Boulevard from I-77 to Galleria Boulevard (No. 26) and S.C. 49 in Lake Wylie from S.C. 274 to the state line (No. 37) in the top 50.
- Others include S.C. 161 from Celanese Road to Trexler Lane (No. 53), S.C. 160 from Gold Hill Road to I-77 (No. 64), S.C. 322 from Cedar Grove Lane to Anderson Road (No. 65), 322 from Dorchester Street to Cedar Grove Lane (No. 72) and S.C. 49 from Hands Mill Highway to Charlotte Highway in Lake Wylie (No. 73).
South Carolina keeps count on almost 6,700 secondary roads. York County has four in the top 100 busiest.
The fourth busiest secondary road in the state in 2018 runs is Carowinds Boulevard from the North Carolina line to U.S. 21. That road tallied 39,900 average daily vehicle trips.
The other top spots were in Rock Hill, near Ebenezer Road and Heckle Boulevard (No. 56), Celanese and Malvern roads (No. 66) and Ebenezer and India Hook roads (No. 74).
Fort Mill has the 19th busiest local road in the state. Fort Mill Parkway, in front of Catawba Ridge High School, which opened this year, recorded 14,300 vehicles a day in 2018.
A section of Highway 9 in Rock Hill, between Main Street and Dave Lyle Boulevard, ranked No. 39 with 11,300 vehicles.
Three other Rock Hill roads snuck into the top 50, with stations between Wylie Street and Cherry Road (No. 48), Cherry and Hawthorne Lane (No. 49) and Dave Lyle and Black Street (No. 50) all recording more than 9,700 vehicles per day.
None of the federal highways in these three counties rank in the top 50 statewide. Only two rank in the top 100, at Nos. 54 and 65.
The busiest U.S. highways in this area are 521 in Indian Land and 21 in Rock Hill. One spot on each road recorded more than 37,000 vehicles per day, led by the Indian Land section between S.C. 160 and the North Carolina line at 38,900 vehicles.
Traffic on your road
The tri-county area had 126 non-interstate road counts last year of 10,000 or more vehicles. Here’s a searchable way to find out which roads made the list, and how many vehicles they serve: