Lack of signage sparks concern over Dorchester Co. intersection

Some pedestrians in Dorchester County say they’re in need of more visuals at certain intersections so their lives don’t feel like they’re in danger.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 4:38 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 11:26 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Some pedestrians in Dorchester County say they’re in need of more visuals at certain intersections so their lives don’t feel like they’re in danger.

These intersections include where Dorchester Road meets Bacons Bridge Road and where Dorchester Road meets Orangeburg Road.

Dorchester Road and part of Orangeburg Road are considered “high crash collision corridors,” According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety

Pedestrian Heather King says she’s had several near misses at these intersections and even was bumped by a truck one time when she was crossing the crosswalk.

“You fear every time you come through this intersection,” King said.

She’s a frequent runner and cyclist in the area and even walks with a group of women on Sundays. She says even safety gear isn’t protective enough.

“I’m always brightly dressed, but people still don’t pay attention,” King said.

King and another pedestrian say they’ve witnessed several accidents in these areas.

“We have all experienced that,” King said. “Both on our bikes and as pedestrians, runners, walkers.”

King says she watches people run red lights speed through these intersections constantly. She says she likes to take her grandsons to Ashley River Park right down the road, but has to drive there every time, even though it’s only a mile and a half away.

She emphasizes that something needs to be done to make these intersections safer for all.

“More visual,” King said. “More bright lights, flashing lights. There needs to be harsher fines for people that don’t pay attention to the rules and for people that break the rules.”

Lt. Rick Carson with Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office says both of these intersections are extremely busy. He provided this statement:

The intersection at Bacons Bridge and Dorchester Road is designed with pedestrian controls as is Orangeburg Road at Dorchester Road. We patrol both of these intersections regularly and citations are issued frequently when infractions are witnessed by deputies.

Currently there are no cameras at these intersections. We are working on a proposal to obtain a number of cameras for some of the busier intersections and higher crime rate areas in the county. When we have determined the number of cameras, we will be obtaining a study will then be completed to determine the locations of the cameras.

We do not design the intersections nor determine the traffic patterns. We will enforce the traffic laws as written.

As for law enforcement presence, we are responsible for 532 square miles of area in Dorchester County. At peak times, day or night, a deputy is more or less responsible on average for 31 square miles or more. If you have a plan to help us get more deputies, we are all ears.

Jason Carraher, the public works director for Dorchester County, provided this response:

The Dorchester County Transportation Authority has completed projects at these intersections in accordance with SCDOT guidelines. Although these were administered by the Transportation Authority, the SCDOT is the owner of the facilities, and improvements were authorized by their standards and requirements.

Also, the state department of transportation sent this statement in response to the concerns:

We are not aware of any upcoming projects planned for that area. There were two widening projects within the past 10 years that included a shared use path for Dorchester Road and Bacons Bridge Road – both were administered by Dorchester County.

We encourage anyone with concerns to be in touch with us directly – they can reach our customer service center at 855-467-2368.

As far as what travelers should do right now, King says it’s important to keep reaching out to officials.

“People just need to stop, look, listen, pay attention,” King said.

King is also a member of a safety advocacy group called Bike/Walk Summerville that provides resources on future events and how to file maintenance requests with the Town of Summerville and state officials.

To access those resources, click here.