COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation unveils a $26.5 million repaving project, paid for in part by the higher gas tax and road user fees passed into law in the Spring.
About 200 miles of roads across South Carolina are set to be paved and contracts have already been awarded. Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall says the work will begin whenever the construction companies contracted can start.
"Oh, there's definitely a lot of roads that need work," retired police officer Bill Meyer said. "For almost 40 years, I traveled the roads basically running from one law enforcement call to the other."
Meyer has made traveling a full-time job in his retirement. He lives in Spartanburg, but travels to tour state parks and has seen a lot of road in the process. That's why he's become involved in public comment and input sessions held at SCDOT meetings.
Before the bill for a higher gas tax passed, Myer also sent numerous images of crumbling roads he's experienced in his travels to one group lobbying for the gas tax bill, the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads.
He's now following how SCDOT plans to use his tax dollars. During the monthly commission meeting on Thursday, Hall presented her "roads show," reviewing her plan to fix roads, in addition to unveiling the resurfacing plan.
The 200 miles set to be repaved spreads across 27 different counties, with roads in the Midlands, Upstate, Lowcountry, and Pee Dee are set for fixes.
Hall says funds from the new gas tax and road user fees should begin accumulating in 45 to 60 days. She says it's hard to tell exactly if the resurfacing will have an effect on the fatality rate in South Carolina.
"It's hard to draw a one-to-one connection between the two, but I think it's um, it's pretty evident from the numbers that we definitely have a serious situation on our pavements," Hall said. "In our state, only 20 percent of our roads are classified as in good condition when it comes to the pavements themselves."
There's also the Rural Road Safety Plan, with Phase I costing $50 million approved by the commission in its first year.
The plan is to enhance safety features on deadly rural roads crashes are happening on, by improving rumble strips, painting, guardrails, and removing fixed objects on roadsides.
The commission has also approved a 28 day public comment period for the 2018 repaving project, for 334 miles to be resurfaced for $71.8 million. SCDOT says it could still take 10 years to double the number of pavements deemed "good."