Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr. has announced that safety improvements
made by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) at
intersections and on rural roads have begun to show results in reducing
the crash and fatality rates at those locations in South Carolina.
Limehouse made the announcement at the 2008 SC Highway Safety Conference
being held in Columbia sponsored by the SC Department of Public Safety.
reported that intersection safety improvements projects that included
the addition of turn lanes, turn signals, and improved lines of sight
for drivers among other measures, have resulted in a 60% decrease in crashes, and a 90% drop in the fatality rate. Limehouse
attributes this success to his “Fix it First” strategy. “When I took
office at SCDOT, I immediately shifted the agency’s focus to preserving
and maintaining the large 41,000 mile state highway system that we
already have. Limehouse added, “We cannot afford to expand our highway
infrastructure further until we make sure that our existing highways are
safe for the people of South Carolina and our visitors, and efficient
enough to support economic development.” Limehouse noted that
intersection improvements can save lives, but they are expensive
projects. The average cost of one intersection improvement project
ranges between $600,000 and $800,000.
also had good news about rural roads which have the highest death rates
in South Carolina. He noted that SCDOT continues to include paved
shoulders in repaving or new construction projects. A recent SCDOT
traffic study of over 1,000 sections of roads where paved shoulders have
been added shows a decline in the crash rate of over 20%. Many of the
state’s rural highways were built in the early 20th century
with lanes too narrow for modern vehicles, particularly trucks. In
addition, these roads were built without paved shoulders and sometimes
no shoulders of any kind. “South Carolina has the second highest rural
road death rate in the country,” said Limehouse. “But this study proves
that providing paved shoulders can cut down the number of
“run-off-the-road crashes,” he added.
South Carolina’s 41,000-mile highways system, which includes over 8,300 bridges, is the 4th
largest state-maintained system in the nation. The state highway system
includes 27,000 miles of secondary roads, most of which are in rural
areas. Secondary roads do not qualify for federal funding.
high-resolution portrait of Secretary of Transportation H.B. "Buck"
Limehouse Jr. is available for download at the following location: