EDITORIAL: Listening made a better plan
The S.C. Department of Transportation has worked hard to gather input on a plan to widen Silver Bluff Road.
The proposed project is something thatís needed on this very busy road and it will make it safer in the long run.
The widening will affect residents who live from Indian Creek Trail to Richardson Lake Road on Silver Bluff Road and many have shared their concerns about the project.
State transportation officials are listening. Several public meetings have been held to discuss this project with residents and gather comments or feedback on a plan thatís been in the works for six years. The plan has been altered several times to alleviate some concerns that have been submitted and reviewed.
The original plan was to widen the two-lane road to five lanes. Residents in the area werenít comfortable with that idea so DOT engineers adjusted the concept plan to three lanes. Officials hope the center turning lane will help the traffic flow by alleviating congestion.
Some people donít want this widening at all. Right-of-way will need to be obtained and some are troubled by the idea that the road will be closer to their yards.
DOT officials say they have also made changes to decrease the impact of right-of-way, such as adding a retaining wall to both sides of Hartwell Drive.
Some residents think like the plan isnít enough. Some foresee massive growth in the coming years and feel like the three lanes will do for now but not later.
Itís hard to say what will happen in the future, but it seems that DOT officials are confident in the current plan and believe they have compromised with those who have spoken against it.
In the end, something needs to be done to make sure that Silver Bluff Road can handle an increase in population as Aiken continues to grow.
Though some people were still not happy with what they saw at the last meeting on Sept. 18, many thanked the DOT officials for the changes they made and for listening to their concerns.
And thatís evidence that they have taken these concerns seriously.