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Controversial Nexton intersection to see traffic light installed in the next 30 days

SUMMERVILLE — Developers of a Nexton neighborhood have announced that a long-awaited traffic light at a dangerous intersection is finally on its way. 

A spokeswoman with Brookfield Properties Development confirmed that in the next 30 days, drivers should see a permanent traffic light at the Nexton Parkway and Brighton Park Boulevard intersection. 

This is after residents of the nearby Del Webb Nexton community continuously voiced complaints about the safety of the intersection. 

"(I)t has been our contention all along that we needed that ASAP," said Pat Heckert, a Del Webb resident. "The accidents there continue." 

The intersection made headlines in October 2020 following a car accident that killed three people. 

Meredith Freeman, 74, a retired Flowertown Elementary School teacher, was in a car traveling with her son Chad Freeman, 49 and his wife Andrea Freeman, 48, one Sunday. 

The three family members were killed when Joshua Wensell's vehicle collided with theirs. Wensell was speeding down Nexton Parkway after coming off of Interstate 26. 

The same year, Wensell was charged with three counts of reckless homicide, a felony. The case is still pending. 

Meredith Freeman was preparing to build a home in the Del Webb Nexton community. The family had just reviewed floor plans and signed paperwork before the fatal accident.

Since that tragedy in 2020, residents have continued to push for safety measures around Nexton Parkway. 

"It's getting to be like a mini I-26," said Joel Arenson, another Del Webb resident. 

Getting the traffic light installed has been an ongoing saga.

In October, county officials disclosed that the traffic signal had been approved and that alterations to lanes were being finalized. They said developers are in charge of installing the traffic signal.

At the time, the developers had hired a traffic engineering consultant. Residents said they were initially told that the traffic signal would be finished in January. 

A spokeswoman with the developer said that poles for a permanent fixture for the traffic signal are still on backorder. But the expectation is still to finish the installation of the traffic signal in the next 30 days. 

State transportation officials have reported more than 20 accidents at the intersection since 2018. 

“We’re a large and growing larger community here in Berkeley County," Heckert said. "Hopefully that light will slow things down."

The Nexton area is growing. Hundreds of homes are slated to be built around the Parkway with the town of Summerville approving recent developments.

Several commercial spaces are also in the works, including Harris Teeter and Publix supermarkets on opposite sides of Nexton Parkway at the intersection.

So community members aren't stopping at pushing for the traffic signal. They said they would also like to see more safety measures put in place around a hiker and biker trail that runs along Nexton Parkway. 

Ideally, residents said, they would like the trail to extend to a crosswalk at the Nexton Parkway and Brighton Park Boulevard intersection. That way, residents said, they can safely cross the road with the help of the traffic signal. 

Arenson and other residents spoke at a recent County Council meeting on Jan. 24 expressing the concern. 

Del Webb Nexton is a community predominately made up of senior citizens. Arenson said he and others feel like they are continuously risking their lives crossing Nexton Parkway while attempting to access the trail. 

"We're going to keep pressing them," he said. 

Reach Jerrel Floyd at 843-937-5558. Follow him on Twitter @jfloyd134.