SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – Two new roundabouts are being planned at busy intersections in Spartanburg County.
“SCDOT has been advocating the use of roundabouts–or traffic circles, if you will–for a number of years,” Pete Poore said.
Spartanburg County’s Transportation Committee intends to add traffic circles to two popular intersections in Duncan.
One would be at Woods Chapel and Victor Hill roads and is a $700,000 project. The other would be at Berry Shoals and Apple Valley Road and would cost about $400,000.
While roundabouts are more expensive than a four-way stop, Pete Poore with the South Carolina Department of Transportation said they’re worth it.
“Now, you’re talking about the cost of lives,” Poore said. “What’s the cost of a life? If there’s a traffic study that indicates you’re having a lot of crashes and a lot of injuries and deaths at a particular intersection, it’s an excellent investment.”
Both intersections, according to those behind the projects, have a fairly high volume of crashes, and they’re hoping these traffic circles will help to change that.
Poore said, when it comes to the safety of roundabouts, national statistics are on their side.
“Crashes are reduced 35%. Crashes involving injuries are reduced 75%. Crashes involving pedestrians are reduced 40%. And here’s the key factor: crashes involving fatalities are reduced 90%. That’s a pretty good number right there,” he said.
Poore told 7 News roundabouts are also very efficient and help with the flow of traffic.
“You do not have to stop at a stop sign,” he said. “You don’t have to stop at a red light.”
Not to mention, Poore said, they’re good for the air.
“You’re reducing the emission that your engine’s putting out, because you’re not stepping on the brakes and re-starting,” he said.
We spoke with a man who lives near the intersection of Woods Chapel and Victor Hill roads and he said he travels through the intersection every day to get to work.
He told 7 News he wouldn’t mind a traffic circle there.
“It would slow traffic down,” Ronnie Safrit said. “Probably eliminate crashes.”
But, because it is an industrial area and there are lots of tractor-trailers that travel through, Safrit said he hopes they make the circle big enough.
“For this road, and the amount of traffic with big trucks and trailers, we would have a horrible time going around the roundabout and not clipping the corner or destroying the traffic circle over time,” Safrit said.
Those over the projects told 7 News they expect construction to start at Woods Chapel and Victor Hill roads within the next few months.
They’re hoping to get the funding approved for construction at the other intersection by spring of 2022.