Residents could soon be prohibited from making left turns on a section of Dorchester Road.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation, along with Stantec, the Town of Summerville, Dorchester County and the Federal Highway Administration are planning road improvements they hope will decrease the amount of traffic accidents between the intersections of Dorchester/Ladson and Dorchester/Trolley roads.
A study adopted by town council on June 14 revealed there have been almost 500 crashes from 2011 to 2014 between the two intersections – averaging to more than two crashes a week. It revealed 113 crashes with injuries at the corridor.
Most of the crashes involved rear ends and cars struck at an angle. Director of Public Works and Town Engineer Russ Cornette said left turns are “the majority of the reason the crashes are occurring.”
“This is one of the busiest corridors in [Dorchester County],” Cornette said.
The project’s idea is to construct a four-foot wide raised concrete median between the intersections to prohibit left turn movement, Cornette said. Driveways entering the corridor will be converted to right-in-right-out. The plan also includes dedicated right turn lanes going onto Ladson and Trolley Roads to prevent traffic from stacking up.
The left-turning lane from Dorchester going onto Ladson would be extended to keep traffic from overflowing into the Dorchester driving lanes. The right-turn island on Ladson will be removed — forcing drivers to stop before turning right. This should reduce the number of accidents as well.
“The purpose is reducing the amount of crashes” in the corridor, Cornette said.
The project will address other traffic issues that extend from the Dorchester Road and Hummingbird Avenue intersection to the Dorchester Road and State Park Road crossing.
Committee members proposed planting greenery in the median, but Cornette said plant life likely wouldn’t survive. Some attendees expressed concern about drivers riding over the median. But Cornette said creating multi-turning lanes should invite patience.
The project will be funded by the Office of Traffic Safety, along with other federal funding.
A public meeting will be held at OES on July 17 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where public comment will be available. Cornette said he expects construction to begin after no sooner than 18 months as departments acquire right-of-way permits.