Frustration grows among commuters as Hard Scrabble Road widening project faces delays

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Published: May. 4, 2022 at 9:17 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A road widening project in Richland County that started more than five years ago is still going on.

The seven-mile project will widen Hard Scrabble Road from Farrow Road to Kelly Mill Road.

It is currently one lane in both directions. Once complete, the roadway will have four travel lanes and a center merge lane.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation, which is managing the project, said that the expected completion date is now sometime in October 2023.

SCDOT initially estimated that the widening would be done in 2019.

People who work along this road are frustrated by the delays.

“It’s a huge concern with traffic delays,” Jenny Collins said. “And we’ve had nails in our tires, gas leaks, water leaks. It just seems like it’s a constant battle whereas coming to work used to be a little bit easier.”

According to SCDOT, the completion date has been pushed back due to a delay in utility relocation. Several utility lines, including Dominion gas and AT&T, must be moved by utility companies before the widening can be done.

SCDOT says that these companies are working on this, but it’s been a slower than expected process.

“It seems to have no end, it keeps going,” Dr. Michael Barno, owner of Brickyard Dental Group off Hard Scrabble Road, said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but we’ve had a lot of issues with the congestion that the traffic’s caused. It’s made it difficult for our patients to sometimes even find us. We’ve had a period of time where they were actually blocking our sign and I had to get them to move some construction equipment. So, it’s been a difficult issue just with the traffic alone.”

Brickyard Dental Group is offering free teeth whitening to all road workers if the project is completed by the end of this year.

“Offer’s still on the table,” Barno said. “So hopefully they can get it done and we can whiten a lot of teeth for these guys.”

Just Wright also works nearby the construction. He said he doesn’t mind the traffic in the short-term, and it’s not as “hectic” for him as it may be for others.

“I think the road widening is long overdue,” he said. “It’s traffic now, but it’ll definitely lighten that load. I think it’s for the greater good.”

The Hard Scrabble Road widening is funded by the Richland County Penny Tax program.

Additional bike lanes, sidewalks and intersection improvements are also included in the project.

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