County strives to upgrade rural roads
This is in response to a May 30 letter titled, “Raccoon Island Road suffers from county ‘improvements.’ ” The claims in the letter are untrue, and it is important for residents to know some of the background on what the county is doing to upgrade rural roads.
On Dec. 6, 2011, Charleston County Council voted to rescind the 1965 community road policy. Where the county can locate clear records that it has maintained specific roads for many years, those roads are acknowledged as public.
These roads will now be able to receive better maintenance and phased-in upgrades, as finances allow. Each of these rural roads will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will involve extensive input from the residents and property owners.
Letters were mailed to the citizens of all these roads, including the 33 landowners along Raccoon Island Road on Edisto Island.
County crews have maintained Raccoon Road an average of seven times a year for over 40 years. The last two visits were on April 10, 2012, following a wet period, and May 8 and 9, 2012, following a request from a resident for maintenance.
During the visits, the county smoothed the road where needed and cut back grass to meet safe clearance guidelines.
Claims that the road was “destroyed” and even “desecrated” are patently untrue. After hearing complaints from one resident, the County’s Public Works Director personally drove along Raccoon Island Road on May 9 and found a beautiful rural road. The only signs of our maintenance were recently trimmed grass and vegetation and the stop sign being visible again.
Six days later, Charleston County Councilmember Anna Johnson joined a team from the county to drive along the road; during this trip, staff videotaped the entire route. Pictures from the May 15 visit have been placed online at http://www.charlestoncounty.org/newsimages/raccoon.htm, and staff’s video can be seen on The Post and Courier’s website at www.postandcourier.com.
The road has been bladed to keep it passable over the years. Over time the scraping has lowered the roadbed in many places six to eight inches below surrounding land. There is no three- to four-foot widening or “digging down to bedrock” as stated in the letter (bedrock is 40 to 70 feet below the ground in that area of the county).
The county did not knock down a mailbox as the writer claimed. In fact, a neighbor reported that someone trailering a boat had hit the mailbox to avoid traffic and an obstacle on the other side of the road. That “obstacle” is a line of posts that the letter writer told our Public Works director she placed on the opposite side of the road.
The county’s Public Works Department is committed to the safety of our residents. As stewards of the county’s infrastructure and with many of our staff being residents as well, we are sensitive to the environment, history and culture of the areas we serve.
As we strive to research and develop the best course of action for every road we maintain, we will continue to work with residents and landowners and look forward to an honest dialogue.
We encourage residents with any road related questions to call the county at (843) 958-4000.
W. Kurt Taylor
Charleston County Administrator
Bridge View Drive