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Funding is secure for new stoplight

A handwritten sign on Highway 57 at the intersection of Highway 111 and Little River Road in Brooksville, reading, “2019. Still no light,’’ vents locals frustration, but South Carolina House of Representative William Bailey of Little River said that the funding is now secure for a light, though it still may take some months.

“Hopefully, that sign will not need to be there much longer,’’ said Bailey, because the $2.4 million needed to make improvements and add a stoplight is now in place. “They should start seeing some activity in the next three, four months.’’

Bailey, a Republican who defeated incumbent Greg Duckworth in November to represent District 4 which covers the North Strand, said not enough funding had been set aside and the project languished as a result.

He was aware of the problem and sympathized with the residents as the project had languished in Columbia, with no one in the community being informed as to what happened. “I found out there was a lack of funding and we reached out to some committees and got it,’’ he said.

Residents should soon see preliminary activity starting with the getting of easements, surveying, etc. The road is first to be widened and some turn lanes added before the light can be installed. He said another dilemma impeding new road construction is “there is so much work going on in the county, it’s very hard to find contractors.’’

South Carolina 57 from Longs to the North Carolina line has become increasingly busy. “It’s crazy there at the light at (SC) 57 and Highway 9. There’s so much development.’’

Bailey said the hope is that residents will see traffic diminish on 57 once the extension of SC 31, the Carolina Bays Parkway, comes through in about five years. The proposed leg is slated to run from where the road currently ends, east of Jud Kuhn’s Chevrolet, over Highway 9 and through rural land to the North Carolina line. Residents of the closest subdivision, Lafayette Park, would not have to access 57 but can hop onto the clover-leaf that links to SC 31, Bailey said. The limited-access highway should also divert heavier work vehicles, he said.

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