State transportation planners want to get Fort Mill drivers off a structurally deficient bridge, but it’ll involve some new driving routes for a while.
The U.S. 21 Business bridge over Steele Creek is being replaced. The South Carolina Department of Transportation will start acquiring land this summer or early fall. Construction should start late next year. When it does, drivers will need a new way of getting between Springfield Parkway and North White Street.
The roadway, also called Old Nation Road, shouldn’t cause too many headaches for residents along it. If anything, several at the public meeting Thursday night were pleased a detour would cut down on traffic.
As local traffic, they won’t be restricted.
“It’ll be a couple more miles,” Bobby Eastwood said of his daily commute.
Many in the Eastwood family live along the road. Family members say the bridge had been in place a long time and it’s logical it would need replacement. Anita Eastwood said her drive to work won’t be much different with a detour.
“It probably won’t affect mine, maybe five minutes,” she said.
Impacts the Greenway
The Anne Springs Close Greenway has its Dairy Barn entrance on one side of the creek and bridge, not far from its Lake Haigler site on the U.S. 21 Bypass. Walter Elisha Park, now owned by the Town of Fort Mill, sits on the opposite side. There also is Greenway property beneath the bridge where people hike, which may have to be off limits during construction.
Berry Mattox, program manager with SCDOT, said it hasn’t been determined whether the proposed detour will be in place for the full 18-month construction window. It is likely, though, he said. Full closure could help speed construction, but road planners and the contractor will decide.
“Probably,” Mattox said. “It’s just easier and it’s just safer to go ahead and close it down since we have a viable detour route.”
The plan is to reroute northbound traffic from S.C. 160 West from Old Nation Road, then U.S. 21 North Springfield Parkway and back to Old Nation. Southbound traffic will take Springfield Parkway to U.S. 21, S.C. 160 and back to Old Nation. The detour would be 1.6 miles.
The end result will be similar to what is in place now.
“We’re replacing it on location, so the same alignment, the road will be the exact same place it is after construction,” Berry said.
Drivers shouldn’t be too concerned with the listing as “structurally deficient,” he said.
“ (It) basically means it just needs to be replaced at some point in the future,” Berry said. “It’s not unsafe or anything for the motoring public now, but in order to kind of get ahead of that, we’re going to go ahead and replace it.”
The road should be complete in late 2019 or early 2020. The project is “not unique,” Berry said, and there are other area roads in similar states. Once roads deteriorate enough they are eligible for federal funding, as the Old Nation Road bridge is. The local project wasn’t due to flooding in recent years or other factors beyond age and use.
“This just needed to be replaced,” Berry said. “It wasn’t anything due to any kind of damage or anything like that.”