A traffic signal at S.C. 557 and Oakridge Road should be operational by the end of summer.
The Clover School Board approved $45,635 at its April 27 meeting for the signal. Kelly Clayton, with project management company Cumming Corp., said the work stems from the school bond approved last spring that includes a new elementary school on Oakridge Road across from the middle school.
“It’s being required by South Carolina Department of Transportation,” Clayton said. “This is part of the construction of the elementary school.”
The standard highway signal won’t feature turn lanes.
“We’ll get started on it as soon as school gets out with a completion sometime before Aug. 7,” Clayton said.
That portion of S.C. 557 is part of a Pennies for Progress widening plan. County voters approved a referendum in 2011 that included $4.3 million for the highway between Kingsburry Road and S.C. 49. That project remains in the design and permitting phase, without a construction date set.
Clayton said the highway widening could mean a new light if the intersection alignment changes, paid for by the Pennies program.
“It would have to be relocated and modified for additional turn lanes if added,” Clayton said. “It’ll be relocated to wherever the intersection ends up being.”
The original Bethel Volunteer Fire Department station sits on the intersection, and it was difficult to get fire trucks onto Highway 557 at peak traffic times. Now, from the new station opened on Oakridge Road, firefighters say the new traffic light should help.
“Any time a fire engine comes out to a signal, it’s a lot better than a fire engine coming out at an unmarked area,” said Chris Hybarger, assistant chief.
Hybarger expects the area to see more traffic signals as the population grows.
“Any time you’re putting more people on the road in the same place,” Hybarger said, “you’re going to increase the odds of there being contact between them.”
The new light should help drivers pay attention to the intersection, where they may not anticipate a fire or emergency vehicle.
“It’ll make it a lot safer for the public,” Hybarger said.
John Marks • 803-831-8166