October 27, 2020 | Post & Courier
RIDGEVILLE — Dorchester County foresees traffic being a larger concern in the Ridgeville area’s future and is hoping to get ahead of the problem.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration is reviewing the county’s plans to widen S.C. Highway 27, also known as Ridgeville Road, near Interstate 26.
The goal is to widen the road from two lanes to five lanes in preparation for the upcoming Walmart Distribution Center. That center is slated to bring 1,000 jobs to the area by April 2022.
The road work would be done between S.C. 27′s intersection with U.S. Highway 78 and I-26.
John Truluck, the county’s director of economic development, said the project came after the S.C. Department of Transportation announced plans to improve the interchange at the intersection of S.C. 27 and I-26. The department also plans to widen I-26 near the intersection.
“It’s not very often we can get ahead of a traffic problem,” Truluck said.
The widening of a little over 1 mile of S.C. 27 is expected to cost around $8 million. County officials applied for a grant with the Economic Development Administration in July to help fund the project.
Truluck said a grant with the administration is traditionally only awarded when jobs are attached to it. The maximum for the grant is also usually $2 million.
Through the federal coronavirus aid bill, the administration opened the grant to projects without jobs attached to them, he said. It also increased the maximum amount.
This was helpful since the Walmart Distribution Center plan had not been finalized in July when the county’s application was filed. The county applied for $6.5 million in funding.
“That was the most that fit the grant criteria,” Truluck said.
The Walmart Distribution Center is expected to increase traffic in the area when completed. The center also takes up only 25 to 30 percent of the Ridgeville Industrial Campus.
The county is hoping to get more businesses to build at the campus and add more jobs.
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