US 701 project

The accident-causing congestion in the area of Food Lion in Loris should be alleviated -- but the fix is still years away.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to widen U.S. 701 from Dogwood Street to the Highway 9 exchange at a cost of $7.5 million, according to SCDOT Assistant Program Manager Marla Watson. That cost estimate is based on 2016 figures.

There have been 84 crashes in that area in the past five years.

Last week, the SCDOT held an informal meeting to show residents and others who were interested the conceptual designs for the 1.4-mile expansion.

“This is needed to help with traffic flow in the area and help with some of the crashes,” Watson said. “It will help with regular car traffic and with pedestrian traffic.”

She said no homes or businesses will be impacted by the expansion.

Right now, the project is in the preliminary design phase. Next year, the “right-of-way acquisition” will take place, according to Watson.

“We anticipate starting construction in 2022,” she said.

An average of just under 11,000 vehicles travel on that stretch of road each day.

Quite a few people showed up to review the plans. One was Fred Holmes, pastor of Glendale Baptist Church, who said he feels the road widening is needed.

“Because of the traffic at Food Lion and the accidents and all. Most of the accidents are rear-end accidents. If they can control that, it will make things much better,” Holmes said.

Holmes said he is concerned the expansion could increase flooding situations in his neighborhood.

Wesley Hardee lives on Prospect Road, near the railroad track, and said his yard floods anytime there is at least three inches of rain.

“When the hurricane came, the water was all the way up to my waist,” he said. “I do not care if they widen it, as long as they do not put any more water on us.”

Watson said additional flooding is not expected to be caused by the road expansion.

“We have done extensive drainage studies. We do not know what the wetland situation is like. We are waiting for the Corps of Engineers to get back with us as far as what wetlands are in the area. But we will not be causing any more flooding issues,” Watson said.

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