Moncks Corner ditch could get $320K in improvements

The Berkeley County Transportation Committee voted to spend $320,000 of its $2.5 million annual C-funds allotment to pipe a 100-yard ditch along Hill Street in Moncks Corner.

A deep ditch that some consider dangerous could get improved soon, but some question how the bill will be paid.

The ditch stretches about 1,000 feet between Warren and Division streets on quiet, residential Hill Street. The cost of running a new pipe there is estimated at $320,000, which could come from the county’s C-Funds — its share of state road money.

County Councilman Tommy Newell said he supports the project but not the way of paying of it.

“(The Berkeley County Transportation Committee) is using C-fund money to pipe a ditch adjacent to a state road inside a municipality ... while our crumbling roads continue to dilapidate,” he said, adding that either the town or state Department of Transportation should pay.

However, Mayor Michael Lockliear said the town does not have a storm water fee to pay for such projects.

C-Funds are generated by a 2.66 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and distributed annually to each county based on land area, population, and rural road mileage. They can be used for a host of road improvements.

Berkeley County usually gets $2.5 million annually, but this year, the delegation secured an additional $7.7 million, county spokesman Michael Mule said. The county also has a 1 percent sales tax program to fund road projects.

The Transportation Committee on Wednesday approved $4.1 million in projects, including the ditch and repaving portions of state Highway 45, Black Tom Road Extension, Cane Gully Road and Red Bank Road. The eight-member committee, made up of representatives from across the county, had previously approved $3.6 million in projects for this year.

“When roads are the No. 1 issue in our state, not one penny should be diverted,” Newell said. “There is no question on the validity of the project ... It’s the use of C-Funds that is the problem.”

But Mule said the adjoining residential lots are eroding, and some driveways are cracking. “Obviously the flooding last October showed us just how important proper drainage is on our roadways,” he added. “If we wait much longer, it will become an even costlier problem.”

Hill Street resident Marvin Mims said he has pushed for the work for more than 20 years. “I’m not holding my breath,” Mims said. “They’ve told us before they’d get it done. We had a promise about 10 years ago, but they never got around to it and everybody blames it on somebody else.”

County Supervisor Bill Peagler tried to get the ditch piped when he was mayor of Moncks Corner, Mule said.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713.