Opposes road widening project

I am writing to voice my opposition to the S.C. Department of Transportation proposed project to widen approxiimately 4.9 miles of Hitchcock Parkway from two to four or five lanes between Silver Bluff Road and the Jefferson Davis Highway.

According to DOT’s fact sheet distributed at this meeting, the purpose of the project “is to reduce congestion and accommodate the increasing traffic on the Parkway, to aid in the movement of freight to businesses located along the Parkway and the Aiken city area in order to maintain economic vitality and to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

My wife and I both travel the Hitchcock Parkway on a regular basis and my backyard abuts the Parkway so I have a bird’s eye view of the traffic. I cannot attest to the traffic congestion used to justify for the proposed project.

I foresee many negatives with the proposed project: increased large truck traffic; noise, air and water pollution; storm water runoff; litter, speeding, more accidents, depreciated residential real estate value; and an adverse impact on the Hitchcock Woods.

Surely there are more cost effective and less environmentally intrusive ways to alleviate traffic congestion on the Parkway such as the use of turning lanes and synchronized traffic signals that use cameras to monitor and automatically adjust cycle times to facilitate traffic flow during peak morning and evening commute times.

I have not seen an estimated cost for the project, but I’m sure it will millions. During these harsh economic times with shrinking tax revenues, I would like to think that our elected officials are seeking ways to spend our tax dollars wisely to meet the most pressing needs of our community. I can’t help but think that there are better ways and better places to spend our tax dollars.

Gerald (Jerry) L. Edmunds