CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to upgrade U.S. 29 in Cherokee County.

“We’re attacking the worst of the worst roads, in terms of safety,” said SCDOT spokesperson Pete Poore.

SCDOT is working to improve safety along a roughly seven-mile stretch of U.S. 29 from Cowpens to Gaffney.

“30 percent of our worst crashes occur on rural roads and 5 percent of the most fatal crashes with serious injuries are located on rural roads,” said Poore.

Through the rural road safety program, drivers will see upgrades on U.S. 29 in the next few years.

“Engineers go out and study these corridors, just like this U.S. 29 corridor, and they look for what would be the most effective solutions,” said Poore.

Poore said they plan to add things like more rumble strips between the center and edge lines, add guardrails, clear trees and debris, and add pavement markers and more reflective signage.

“Sometimes at night with people that really have a hard time seeing at night, there’s not really enough of the yellow markers along the yellow line for people to really see,” said Danielle Hord, who works in Cowpens.

Hord said U.S. 29 is a popular route and she thinks these upgrades could help drivers.

“Especially the locals here in Cowpens, they take 29 to work, maybe to Gaffney, to Blacksburg, even people going from Gaffney or Blacksburg going to Spartanburg,” said Hord.

Poore said the goal is to make roads safer, which can help reduce crashes. He said in a five-year span, there were nine serious crashes on U.S. 29.

“Three of them were fatal. In our view, three fatal crashes is too many. Zero is the optimum target, so that warranted this project,” said Poore.

People can learn more about the project or speak with SCDOT leaders at an informational meeting Thursday night. It’s from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.at the Cherokee County Complex.

SCDOT said crews will start working on the project will start in late 2024.