The actual site work started back in January and if it already seems like it’s been taking too long, don’t worry, the project is on schedule.
A mile stretch of Highway 176 or St. James Avenue in Goose Creek will soon have raised medians down the center that will end dangerous left turns that are the cause of several accidents.
In August 2018, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) began public meetings on fixing the issue. Every day, over 40,000 vehicles travel along St. James Avenue between the intersection at Old Moncks Corner Road and the big intersection at Highway 52.
The numbers released in 2018 from SCDOT showed that on average there are 10 crashes a month on the stretch. A lot of the crashes are T-bone type accidents involving two vehicles. The SCDOT wanted changes and the fix is in progress.
While so far, there are no delays, SCDOT reports some challenges with widening a portion of road to get a turn lane, that is a part of the project. Among other things a diversion had to be completed to get around a high pressure gas main, at the corner of Westview Boulevard and Highway 176.
“There was also some underground power lines being relocated along with the tree clearing along that one side of Westview to accommodate the turn lane,” said Johnathon Tyndall, Assistant Resident Construction Engineer for the SCDOT in Charleston. “It took a while to work out but we’ve got it worked out with the contractor now, and we are moving forward.”
Once the work is finished there will be no more left turns at most spots; right turns in and right turns out. It may seem to some who often travel the busy stretch that work is going slowly on Highway 176 or Saint James Avenue, because during the day all that is seen are rows of orange barrels and no workers.
“Everything is on schedule, it’s a slow go because of having to deal with all the traffic, we’re restricted to nighttime and I think that a lot of people think the work isn’t progressing because they don’t see construction equipment out there during the day when they are traveling up and down St. James,” said Tyndall.
The SCDOT study in 2018 showed a raised median has been proven nationally to reduce crashes by up to 60%. The work will cost $3.5 million to complete and has a completion date of July 31, 2021. Then, when it comes to beautification, Tyndall said, that will be up to Goose Creek.
“Palmetto Site Works is the contractor that is doing the work out there,” he said. “All that they are doing is constructing the medians then they will be putting select topsoil in there for the town to come back and put in the irrigation and the plantings.”