SCDOT to begin Columbia’s five-point road safety overhaul in summer 2023: CEG
If all goes according to plan, drivers in the Columbia, South Carolina area can expect to see construction begin on a major traffic safety overhaul project in the city’s Five Points neighborhood during the of summer 2023.
the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) announced in mid-April that it had received the necessary feedback from local partners to move forward on full design work for the $4.85 million project. The improvement effort has been underway for years to reduce crashes in the Columbia Corridor — one of the most dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists in South Carolina, a recent state safety audit found.
Proposed road improvements for the popular shopping and nightlife area include Blossom Street, Devine Street and Harden Street.
In an email to The State, Rob Perry, director of traffic engineering at SCDOT, wrote that there were several reasons for the tentative start date of summer 2023.
“We need to have construction plans completed several months after a project is announced for contractors to bid on,” he noted. “Thanks to the coordination with the city and the Five Points association, we have been filming since a summer period when [the University of South Carolina] is ready to do this construction.”
Perry added that the SCDOT recently received the necessary information to move towards those 2023 plans.
“We … recently received a response from the Five Points Association regarding parking and other improvements we plan to make to improve safety,” he wrote to the Columbia newspaper. “We couldn’t embark on full design efforts until we received that feedback.”
Improving neighborhood safety is the goal of SCDOT
Improvements at Five Points will include flashing yellow arrow traffic lights and pedestrian improvements, right turn limitation on red light maneuvers, improved pedestrian markings, improved ADA ramps, installation of raised concrete medians with fencing, and construction of new curb radius bumps.
The project also includes reducing the number of crossing lanes on Harden Street from Devine Street to Blossom Street, and on Devine from Harden Street to Saluda Avenue. The Five Points project will reallocate this space to cycle paths by installing sidewalk extensions to shorten pedestrian crossing distances, and raising medians and building wider sidewalks, where possible, depending on drainage conditions, noted. Perry in his email to The State.
The Five Points area has been identified by the SCDOT for safety improvements due to the frequency with which motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists occur there. The project began with a road safety audit conducted by a team comprised of members from the state agency, Federal Highway Administration (FHA), engineering, planning, and city police departments of Columbia, USC Police, the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and the Five Points Association.
The state audit showed that from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2018, there were 232 vehicle accidents in the Five Points corridor and a “high frequency” of accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Of the total number of accidents reported in the audit, 17 involved cyclists or pedestrians.
“We will continue to move this project forward with feedback from our partners with the city and the Five Points Association to ensure the final product appropriately improves pedestrian safety,” Perry wrote in his email to source. information.