(Columbia) July 26, 2004 - For Sherri Shoup, dashing out the door for work and getting her son to camp is stressful enough 7:30am in northeast Columbia.
She has to endure what she calls "the Hardscrabble shuffle, "Horns honking, people saying go, go, go." She's talking about the traffic on Hardscrabble Road during her commute to downtown Columbia.
News 10 rode with her down the two lane road at the heart of the morning rush. She crept along at 10 miles-an-hour, "I fuss, I fuss in the car," before she came to a complete stop.
Her 17 mile trip took 45 minutes and with school starting soon, it's about to get worse, "I always dread the school traffic, because each year you think, 'Oh my gosh, where did these people come from? I didn't see them move in over the summer.'"
A big part of the problem is the tremendous growth in the area. New neighborhoods keep coming up and the number of people living in northeast Columbia is expected to increase 25% in the next 20 years.
DOT engineer Thad Brunson says the daily grind might get easier, "We think it's a very good project."
Brunson says work on a solution is about to begin. The new Clemson Road Extension will connect northeast Columbia to I-77. He says the four mile roadway, set to open in 2006, will give people a faster way downtown, "I think the benefits are primarily going to be the commuters from the northeast area to downtown Columbia."
Sherri is wary, but still optimistic, "I would have to try it and see if I would change my way to work. Maybe everyone would change their way into work and I could keep mine."