Road improvement project in Summerville hopes to alleviate traffic on 17A

Road improvement project in Summerville hopes to alleviate traffic on 17A
North Maple Street Improvement Project (Source: Summerville Engineering Department)
North Maple Street Improvement Project (Source: Summerville Engineering Department)

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Summerville town engineers plan to widen portions of North Maple Street, one by three lanes, in order to accommodate more traffic in the future, and alleviate traffic elsewhere in town.

Tuesday night engineers and environmental personnel will hold a public information meeting for the project.

Residents will be able to drop in between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at Alston-Bailey Elementary School to view displays of the project and talk with officials.

The project looks at improving North Maple Street from south of the Parsons Road/West Richardson Avenue intersection to the North Maple Street Extension, this is part of the Nexton Interchange Project.

From US Route 78 to the North Maple Street Extension, engineers propose widening from two to five lanes -- four travel lanes and a center turn lane.

"If they expand it to five lanes, it's going to cut a heck of a lot of property off," said Alan Baker, of Summerville. "Even here, you can see there's not that much to go."

"That's almost up to the door if they cut it out," said David Rock, of North Maple Street in Summerville. "So they'll have to demolish the houses."

Rock bought his home along North Maple just over two years ago. He said had he known about potential widening in front of the home, he would have opted for somewhere else.

"Be fair," Rock said.

"Be fair to everybody," added his husband Michael Caddin.

"[We] don't really need it," said Edward Culpepper, who works at a car maintenance shop on North Maple Street. "This road is not that busy."

More than 6,000 homes are expected to be built in the Nexton community, on the other side of I-26, over the next few years. Town officials said the widening project on North Maple Street is in preparation for future traffic demands because of the Nexton community.

"I think it's a great idea because it gives us a chance to not have to sit in traffic," said Jacqueline Wilson, of Summerville.

"The annual average daily traffic on 17A at [exit] 199 is about 30,000 cars per day," said Summerville Town Engineer Russ Cornette.

Cornette said a significant amount of traffic you see on 17A will eventually use the Sheep Island exit currently under construction.

Homeowners are concerned about a significant amount traffic which will be diverted to North Maple Street from the interchange since it isn't heavily traveled now.

"I just think it would be a waste of money," Baker said.

Town engineers expect the project to cost around $19 million, and is being funded through the town's utility franchise fees which have already been allocated, according to Cornette.

Cornette estimates at least six homes will have to be relocated from this project.

"We're going through the typical right-of-way acquisition process, we'll be getting property appraisals for each property we have to purchase," he said. "Those properties will be fair market value and any relocation assistance will be included in those as well. People will be taken care of the best we can."

The proposed improvements also include widening North Maple Street from two to three lanes (two travel lanes and a center turn lane) from Parsons Road to US Route 78, along with realigning Parson Road to tire into North Maple Street at West Richardson Avenue (S-65).

Plans also include ways of accommodating bicyclists and pedestrians.

Officials hope to complete the construction and open the road in 2021.

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