SCDOT unveils safety plan for ‘deadliest roads’

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GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – There’s a new plan to cut the death toll on rural roads in South Carolina.

Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall says the state has the deadliest roads in the nation and unveiled a plan Thursday to tackle the issue.

“South Carolina has the deadliest roads in the nation. Nearly 30% of our rural fatal and serious injury crashes take place on just 5% of our highway system outside of our urban areas,”  Hall said. “Our Interstate highways and US primary routes in our rural areas are the deadliest roads in the state.”

Bernard Brown said he’s no stranger to seeing wrecks along the Upstate’s roads.

“I’ve seen a lot of bad accidents and been in a lot of traffic jams,” he said.

That’s what state transportation leaders are trying to prevent. During a SCDOT commission meeting, Hall presented a plan to reduce the high death toll on the state’s roads. But, that’s if new funds become available.

“The roads’ being safe is very important,” said Brown.

Hall presented statistics from 2011 to 2015 showing more than half of South Carolina’s traffic deaths happen on rural roads. She says interstates and primary roads in rural areas are the deadliest roads in the state.

“Say a prayer for the person’s who’s in it because it’s always a bad situation for everyone involved,” said motorist Julianne Harvey.

Hall suggested $50 million per year to start cutting down those deaths.

Brown says it’s tough seeing arguments about how road improvements should be paid for.

“It’s frustrating, you know.. The tax payer pays so much money,” he said.

Hall proposes targeting nearly 2,000 miles (1,957) of these roads with solutions tailored for those particular corridors. Those solutions include rumble strips, raised pavement markings, high reflective signs, wider pavement markings, guardrail, specialized pavement treatments, wider shoulders, paved shoulders, wider clear zones adjacent to the roadways and relocating drainage ditches further away from roadways.

“I think that’s great because we all want to be able to go to work.. Or wherever we’re going and return home safely,” said Brown.

Hall told commissioners that improving safety on roads in the rural areas of the state should be the top priority for any new funding. She adds that safety also comes with cooperation from state and local law enforcement and drivers as well.

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