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Lexington spending $16M to remedy traffic woes

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Like most everywhere else in South Carolina, Lexington is dealing with crumbling roads and traffic congestion. Talks with a number of business leaders confirmed it’s by far the No. 1 issue facing the town.

MacDougallWith 136,000 vehicles per day passing through its community, Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall made the roads and traffic a key point in his recent State of the Town address.

“As the town continues to grow, we know our number one priority is to alleviate traffic woes,” MacDougall said. “This year the Town of Lexington launched our Adaptive Computerized Signalization System.”

The system allows cameras mounted on traffic lights to detect the presence of vehicles and provides the best distribution of green time based on traffic demand.

MacDougall said the town currently has 12 signals that are “live,” meaning they have been converted over to real time control in place of analog rotation control.

The affected intersections include:

  • Main Street at Church Street and Lake Drive
  • West Main Street at Park Road and Old Chapin Road
  • US 378 (Sunset Boulevard at the intersections with Corley Mill Road, Cromer Road, I-20 Westbound Ramp, I-20 Eastbound Ramp, Leaphart Road, Lott Court and Northside Boulevard)

MacDougall said work is being completed on the last seven signals included in Phase I of the project. The completed project will feature 35 signals.

For these projects, the town received funding from the Central Midlands Council of Governments with Columbia Area Transportation Study Share Funding and from the County of Lexington, for a total of $5.1 million.

MacDougall said money from the newly implemented 2% hospitality tax will also go toward road projects, with the goal being to increase safety and ease of driving throughout Lexington.

To further help the congestion problem, the town planned to include one-way pairing of Lake Drive and Church Street, the widening of Ginny Lane near Sunset Boulevard and Saluda Pointe Drive and I-20 Westbound Ramp improvements.

“By pairing the Lake Drive and Church Street corridors, the capacity of this direction is doubled,” MacDougall said. “The additional capacity allows significant increase in the amount of green light time that is allotted to Main Street signals.”

MacDougall said designs for the project are in the final stages at SCDOT. The project is expected to go to bid in the next 30 to 60 days, with completion in the fall.

When it comes to the roads, MacDougall said he has met with local, state and national leaders about funds for Lexington’s needs. He said the town doesn’t own any of its major roads, but it is being forced to use town money for improvements.

“There is no help from the federal level — we’re the little fish in the pond, but we’re having to come up with the money to fix the roads,” MacDougall said.

That includes a $16 million project set to begin next month.

“We had to find a solution. We shouldn’t be fixing state-owned roads,” MacDougall said. “But, we can’t wait and watch another 14 years; the town would suffer tremendously. We’re going to make sure this town and citizens are protected.”

Reach Travis Boland at 803-726-7543.

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