County to use $5.6 million to repave SC 72, SC 49

Charles Warner Editor

December 19, 2013

UNION COUNTY — The county will use allocations of state highway funds totaling $5.6 million to repave sections of two highways.

County Engineer Jerry Brannon said Wednesday that the Catawba Regional Council of Governments has allocated funds for the repaving of the section of S.C. 72 between the Broad River and Cane Creek and the repaving of the section of S.C. 49 between the Cross Keys House and the intersection with U.S. 176 in Union. Brannon said the funds allocated to the project by Catawba Regional are part of the funds allocated by the S.C. Department of Transportation to the COGs around the state for highways repairs and improvements. He said the COGs then determine which projects in the counties they serve will be funded with the funds allotted them by the SCDOT.

“Every year for the last 14 years or so the SCDOT has set aside money for rural local transportation needs,” Brannon said. “The Catawba Regional COG gets $5 million to $6 million a year with 20 percent of those funds designated to resurface federally designated roads.”

Brannon said the county had originally hoped to use those resurfacing funds to repave the section of S.C. 49 between the Cross Keys House and the US 176. However, Brannon said that S.C. 49 is a not a federally designated road and so therefore the project was not eligible for those funds.

There are, however, two Union County roads — SC 9 and SC 72 — that are federally designated roads. Brannon said that with this in mind he approached Catawba Regional about using the funds set aside by the SCDOT for repaving federally designated roads to repave the section of S.C. 72 between Broad River and Cane Creek. He said the road has major problems and will, for all intents and purposes, have to be rebuilt.

Brannon said Catawba Regional agreed to do this and allocated $2.2 million for the project.

As for the repaving of S.C. 49, Brannon said the county proposed that it be funded out of the other 80 percent of the funds allocated Catawba Regional by the SCDOT. Brannon said that the SCDOT has already repaved the section of SC 49 between the Spartanburg County line and the Blackstock Battlefield and is planning to repave the section of the highway between the battlefield site and the Cross Keys House. He said originally the idea had been to do the remainder of the highway between the Cross Keys House and Union in a piecemeal fashion, but that he instead sought enough funds to have it done all at once.

“It would have taken us another five to six years to get it done if we’d done it a couple of miles at a time,” Brannon said. “The road is in bad shape and the longer we wait the worse the road becomes and the more it costs. When that happens you go from the maintenance phase to the rebuilding phase.”

In response to Brannon’s efforts, Catawba Regional allocated $3.4 million for the repaving of SC 49 between the Cross Keys House and US 176.

Brannon said both the SC 49 and SC 72 repaving projects are scheduled to get under way in the summer of 2014. He said he hopes to have the repaving of the section of SC 49 between Blackstock Battlefield and the Cross Keys House and the section between the house and US 176 done together. Even if that doesn’t happen, Brannon said with the money allocated and the projects scheduled the section of SC 49 east of Union will soon be completely repaved.

“Unless something major happens, we’re going to get SC 49 paved from US 176 to the county line,” Brannon said. “It will also be improved. It will be widened to 28 feet which will include a two-foot paved shoulder.”

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com