The Town of Lexington’s proposal to build a traffic circle at the intersection of Columbia Ave/378 and Lake Drive has been rejected by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).
Intended to ease the growing flow of traffic onto and through Sunset Blvd and Lake Dr. that serves over 40,000 vehicles per day, the Town’s concept was a round-about at the intersection that included re-routing Dreher Street’s access to Lake Drive.
Although the Town is responsible for paying for and maintaining such improvements, SCDOT must approve them. This was pointed out to citizens when the tax was introduced. There were some who complained about the idea of a traffic circle/round-about at that location, but council members explained that it was only a concept that had to be studied and approved by the state. That is exactly what happened.
SCDOT determined that, over time, the concept provided by the Town of Lexington would not sufficiently handle growing traffic volumes. To make a circle/round-about work would require increasing the footprint of the construction which would necessitate the Town’s acquisition of private property (eminent domain). According to a source familiar with the project, the Town will restudy plans and submit new ideas to SCDOT for approval.
The proposal, along with two other intersection improvements was/are to be paid for by a 2% “hospitality tax” instituted by Town Council last year.
The source did not say if there have been any changes to the two other projects. These include the conversion of SC 6 (North/South Lake Drive) and North/South Church Street (S-32-91) into one-way street operation and upgrade the intersection of East Main Street at Harmon Street and Martel Drive and improving traffic flow through the Corley Mill Road and US 378 intersection which serves as the primary Gateway to the Town.
SCDOT has decided, however, that the Dreher Street/Harmon Street redirection will still be constructed to improve traffic flow and safety.