Do you trust the SCDOT to maintain our local roads?

Do you trust the SCDOT to maintain our local roads?
July 22 10:37 2017 Print This Article

It is well documented now that 911 calls went in concerning a loose tarp over the Don Holt Bridge in North Charleston days before the tarp fell, caused a chain of traffic accidents, and created traffic delays in much of the region for more than 18 hours. 911 dispatchers passed the tips on to the state Highway Patrol, which relayed the information to the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT). No preventative action was taken. The SCDOT also failed to anticipate the ice bombs which cascaded from the Ravenel Bridge in 2014 following a deep freeze.


Yet our biggest concern over the SCDOT should be what the agency doesn’t do for our local roads. The SCDOT is responsible for more than 40,000 miles of roads, the fourth largest state inventory in the country. Small secondary roads such as Old Towne Rd., Orange Grove Rd. and Wallenberg Blvd. in West Ashley are state-controlled roads.


The state only sends out crews to cut the grass on the small roads several times per year, contributing to West Ashley’s shabby appearance. Mt. Pleasant and North Charleston send out municipal crews to keep the grass cut. The SCDOT doesn’t pump debris out of storm drains (although it doesn’t appear that the City of Charleston does either). A drain on Wallenberg has been clogged solid for months.


There are also safety hazards associated with state control of roads. Local governments can’t lower the speed limit or erect stop signs or traffic lights without SCDOT approval on state roads. The danger represented by the “suicide merge” at Sam Rittenberg and Old Towne could be solved by putting up a stop light at Old Towne and Southgate, for example.


The problem could be solved if our General Assembly would consider transferring SCDOT roads to local governments with maintenance funds attached, based on road use. A formula could be established to pay local governments a maintenance fee per mile per 1000 drivers. We can hold local elected officials accountable for cutting the grass and maintaining the drainage system. Who do we call if we have a problem with the SCDOT