A biennial traffic study has revealed some of the worst thoroughfares to travel in the greater Aiken area.
Almost the entirety of Hitchcock Parkway as well as portions of Silver Bluff Road, Whiskey Road, Chesterfield Street, Rudy Mason Parkway, University Parkway and Edgefield Highway were flagged as having "congested" or "severely congested" traffic flow, according to analysis conducted by Bihl Engineering.
The study was presented to the Aiken City Council on Monday night during a work session. The city's on-call traffic engineer, Jennifer Bihl, led the discussion.
The analysis identified eight troublesome crossings feeding or along Whiskey Road: intersections at Dougherty Road, East Gate Drive, South Boundary Avenue and Pine Log Road chief among them.
Each of the aforementioned intersections was ascribed either a "D" or a "F" rating – or both, depending on time of day – in the Bihl Engineering study.
Parts of Whiskey Road on average shuttled more than 38,000 vehicles per day in 2018, according to the study. Parts of the Aiken bypass shuttled an average 20,000 vehicles a day. The figures were similar for Richland Avenue south of USC Aiken.
The Bihl Engineering study was not delivered or conducted in a vacuum. City Council earlier this year discussed a multi-million-dollar project that would completely overhaul the Whiskey Road corridor and the infrastructure around it.
There's been talk of Powderhouse Road and South Centennial Avenue connectors near South Aiken High School.
There's been talk of an East Gate Drive-Dougherty Road connector, which would run behind Publix, and a Pawnee Street-Neilson Street extension behind Walmart and Burger King.
And just this summer, City Council approved $2.5 million for a Whiskey and Dougherty roads intersection upgrade. That project, though, has largely not begun.
On Monday night, City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said the Whiskey-Dougherty project would not be complete until late 2019.
In her presentation, Bihl referenced both the potential connector roads and the Dougherty Road improvements, describing them in total as helpful.
The 2018 traffic study is mandated by a city traffic management ordinance.
The locations studied, according to City Council documents, were coordinated with city staff. In total, 47 roadway segments and 18 intersections – concentrated in the downtown and Whiskey Road areas – were looked at.
Mayor Rick Osbon and Bedenbaugh vocalized their interest in the study Monday night.