Fate of Richland Way underpass decided by city council

News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- After months of back and forth, Greenville City Council has voted to turn the Richland Way underpass into a pedestrian only route.

Darren Ehnis walks through the tunnel every day to get to work.

“It’s a very skinny tunnel, it’s not very wide, only one car can go through at a time,” Ehnis said.

He says every time he does it, he’s cautious.

“I feel like you have to approach the road very carefully and like peer down the tunnel and make sure nothing is coming before you can step out,” Ehnis said.

The city says the safety of the Richland Way underpass has been a conversation for a while, but opinions on what to do with it have been mixed.

“We just are now at the point where we have to fish and cut bait,” City Council member Dorothy Dowe said.

Several options were on the table for the two-way traffic tunnel.

The city talked about expanding it to two lanes, making it a one-way and closing it down for just pedestrians.

“The closing of the tunnel to vehicular traffic was definitely the preference of our Greenville Police Department, our fire department, EMS and SCDOT,” Dowe said.

After a unanimous vote on Monday, Greenville City Council finally approved a pedestrian only project for the underpass, bringing relief to people like Ehnis.

Ehnis said, “As a pedestrian yeah, it’ll make me feel a lot more comfortable in my commute to work. I can’t speak for the car drivers that use this every day, but there are plenty of alternate routes that hopefully will service them and help us pedestrians feel safer.”

The city says this project will coincide with the opening of two pedestrian bridges. One on Haywood Road and one on Laurens Road, but it will all be completed by the end of the year.

The city told 7 NEWS that they understand the frustration this may cause drivers who use the underpass, but say they’re working on intersection improvements for the alternate routes they’ll have to take.

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