SCDOT working to reduce crashes on Pee Dee roads

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JOHNSONVILLE, SC (WBTW) – New safety features are set to be installed along several Pee Dee roads in the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s new “Rural Roads Safety Program.” The goal is to reduce the number of deadly crashes in some of the most accident-prone areas across the state by installing security features alongside roadways. 

South Carolina is currently the deadliest state for car crashes. 58 percent of those collisions happen on rural roads, like Highways 51 and 41 in Florence County. 

The program is a two-part plan. The first step is to install barriers and corridors along the side of the road to keep cars from veering off. The second is to safely get cars back on the road when they steer off course.

State Engineer Brett Harrelson says road departure is a top common factor in highway deaths on state roads. When drivers do exit the roadway, they tend to over-correct, which often results in crashes. Certain new safety features, such as wider shoulders, paved shoulders, and wider clear zones, aim to prevent such scenarios by giving drivers a chance to safely get back on the road. In an effort to prevent cars from exiting the roadway, the DOT is installing rumble stripes, raised pavement markers, high reflective signs, wider pavement markers, and guardrails. The purpose of these features is to keep drivers alert and aware.

“Rumble stripes to get people’s awareness. If they’re leaving the roadway, they can hear the rumbling, they can feel that and be able to get back on the roadway. And then increase signage and increase visibility on our roadway pavement markings. It’s going to help tremendously with adding the safety features to this roadway,” said Chief Engineer Randall Young.

S.C. 41, S.C. 51, I-20 and I-95 were selected for the improvements. The features are set to be installed on 37 miles of Highway 41, 33 miles of Highway 51, 15 miles of I-20, and 8 miles of I-95.

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