The state Department of Transportation is listening to feedback from Lee County residents about a proposed truck bypass around the town of Bishopville.
While a route has not yet been finalized, DOT officials expect it to run east of the town. The current proposal would widen Highway 341 northward from its junction with Interstate 20 and build a new road from 341 that would run north to Highway 15 near Dixon Drive. A second phase would build a road around the west side of town. That route would start at Highway 15, run west to Church Street (Highway 34), and then south to Browntown Road.
SCDOT scrapped a possible link south of town after officials determined it would prove too expensive to build around wetlands in the area.
Jeff Burgess is director of the Lee County Economic Alliance. His office supports the bypass, calling it necessary:
A truck bypass is just to get the truck traffic that comes down through Main Street every day. Currently, there are about 600 trucks that come through the downtown. That… is very noisy and it also makes it very unsafe for pedestrians.
The main problem for the trucks is a dangerous intersection at Main Street and Highway 341. Trucks making a right turn often run up on the sidewalk in order to get around a tight corner. Burgess says the bypass would help the truck drivers, but also avoids endangering other on the sidewalk.
Generally, the trucks are running over the curb. What I mean by the curb is the actual sidewalk. They don’t want to do that any more than you or I would in a car.
SCDOT held a public information meeting Tuesday night in Bishopville to inform residents about the plans. The audience had an opportunity to turn in written suggestions or complaints. No funding has yet been set aside for the project, which the DOT says will cost about $8 million.