In a previous post, the hopelessness of traffic in Lexington was addressed. Another article gave an update on the Town’s Hospitality Tax and the projects it was designed to fund. But, what happens when the eight year deadline hits in 2023? Will the work be done? Will there be enough money? Too much? Continue reading “H Tax Future”
In September, 2015 the Lexington Town Council approved a 2% tax on prepared foods as a means to fund much needed traffic improvement projects. The “Hospitality Tax” went into effect on 1 October of that year and will terminate in September, 2023. Forty months later, what has happened? Continue reading “H Tax Update”
Yesterday, Lake and Main published an article saying the South Carolina Department of Transportation had rejected the Town of Lexington’s plan to construct a traffic circle at Lake Drive and Columbia Avenue. Lexington Town Administrator Britt Poole contacted L&M with a correction to the story. Continue reading “UPDATE: Traffic Circle Plan”
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.
- “at best was deceptive, at worst was downright untrue. It was a very clever, yet deceptive campaign.” Sen Shane Massey
“They were just giving them part of the story.” Sen. Katrina Shealy
- “I really want to hear from my constituents. But what’s not healthy is when people (are) being told an absolute lie. When one group is funded by a couple of billionaires, it limits the ability of having free and open speech. The message then becomes one-sided. ” Sen. Larry Grooms
Lexington County is in the first stages of an economic boom. Commercial and residential real estate properties are moving, the population is growing, more school-age children are filling the schools and the needs to accommodate all this are stacking up. Unfortunately, like the rest of the state, the condition of roads in Lexington are poor; potholes, crumbling shoulders, some not wide enough, many not even paved. Yet cars, trucks and school buses must negotiate these sub-standard thruways because we are ignorant or selfish.
In September, 2015 the Lexington Town Council approved a 2% tax on prepared foods as a means to fund much needed traffic improvement projects. The “Hospitality Tax” went into effect on 1 October and will terminate in September, 2023.
In the first quarter, September-December 2015, the new tax generated revenue of $608,529.06.
Despite protestations from anti-tax groups and some restaurant owners that the “H-Tax” would drive away business, several new eateries have opened since the implementation of the tax and more are in the process of planning or construction.
As for the projects for which the tax funds are to be directed, Town of Lexington Administrator Britt Poole provided the following and explained that plans are submitted in four phases;
- traffic plan (overview i.e. proof of concept)
- 30% complete construction plans
- 60% complete construction plans
- 90% complete construction plans
“This allows DOT to follow the design and not have any surprises.” said Poole. “Also, this keeps the town from submitting a complete design and bid package then having to go back to the start because they want a major change.”
Downtown Improvements (One Way Pair)
Improve traffic flow through the downtown Lexington area.
- Traffic plan is complete and submitted to SCDOT for final approval.
- Survey work is in progress
- 30% Plans expected to be submitted to SCDOT by end of January
- Construction on schedule for Late Summer / Early Fall 2016
Crossroad Improvements @ Lake Dr. & Sunset Blvd.
Improve safety and operation of an intersection that serves over 40,000 vehicles per day.
Part 1 – Harmon Street Extension
- Traffic study planned for January 2016
- Scope & Fee* Development in progress
- Mid 2017 construction planned
Part 2 – Lexington Middle School Roundabout
- Traffic study planned for January 2016
- Scope & Fee Development in progress
- Mid 2018 Construction planned
Corley Mill @Sunset Blvd. Gateway Improvements
The focus of the project is to improve current traffic flow through the Corley Mill Road and US 378 intersection which serves as the primary Gateway to the Town.
- Preliminary Traffic Study is in progress
- Final Traffic study expected January 2016
- Based on Traffic study a small improvement (Ginny Lane) will begin design while larger scale improvements will begin Scope & Fee development
- Fall 2016 construction planned for Ginny Lane
- 2018 Construction planned for larger improvements
*Scope and fee is the process engineers to determine responsibilities and deliverables while establishing a cost for each section. Engineers are reimbursed on the level of work completed. This process protects the town so only agreed upon design specifics are paid for.