HARTSVILLE, S.C. – With the roundabout at West Home and West Carolina avenues now fully open to traffic, some final work remains to be done, but no further traffic closures on the roundabout are expected, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s chief engineer on the project.
“They still have some final paving markers to complete and some work on the grass,” said Ken Hayes, resident construction engineer for SCDOT for Darlington County.
No more detours or closures are expected for the roundabout but some traffic delays might occur during the completion of that final work, Hayes said. He said workers have been instructed to perform that work during nonpeak times when traffic volume is at lower levels.
“They shouldn’t have to close it again,” Hayes said.
The roundabout opened to West Carolina Avenue and Fourteenth Street traffic earlier this year. The remaining portion of the traffic circle opened to West Home Avenue and Trailwood Drive traffic on June 26.
Now that the roundabout is open, attention is turning to the planned repaving of West Home Avenue. Officials announced last year that SCDOT will begin repaving about 1.56 miles of West Home Avenue from North Fifth Street in downtown Hartsville to Fourteenth Street in 2019 as part of the agency’s 10-Year Plan to Rebuild S.C.’s Roads.
The West Home repaving project is under a separate contract from the roundabout project, Hayes said. He said no start date has been set yet, and the work could go into next year. The completion date for the project is June 30, 2020.
“That contractor has until then to complete that contract,” Hayes said.
Preliminary work has started to upgrade sidewalks and curbing on West Home Avenue and bring handicapped access points for pedestrians up to approved standards, Hayes said. He said that work has to be completed before repaving the street can begin.
Work started on the roundabout in late 2017. Inclement weather and problems with relocating utilities caused multiple delays in the project.
SCDOT announced in 2013 that it planned to build a roundabout to tie together the intersections of West Home and West Carolina avenues, Trailwood Drive and Fourteenth Street to improve traffic safety in that area.
The agency cited the number of traffic accidents in the area, many of them right-angle or “T-bone” collisions. Officials said at the time that the decision to build the roundabout was based on an analysis of crash rates and crash patterns.
Officials said at the time that the roundabout project would use approximately $1.2 million in federal highway safety funds.
The city of Hartsville issued the following safety tips earlier this year for drivers using the roundabout:
Slow down: Follow the posted speed limit sign as it is in place for your safety.
Counter-clockwise flow: Traffic flows counter-clockwise through the roundabout. If the destination is to the left of the roundabout, drivers should still take a right and follow the circle until they reach the exit they wish to use.
Yield at entry: Look to the left and yield to vehicles already inside the roundabout.
Keep moving: Once in the roundabout, drivers have the right-of-way. Vehicles entering the roundabout must yield to vehicles already in the roundabout.
Truck apron: Drivers will notice in the center of the roundabout is a slightly raised surface. This surface is not intended for cars to drive on, rather for trucks, emergency vehicles, buses, and other large vehicles to have a little more room to maneuver the roundabout.
Pedestrian crossing: There are pedestrian crossing areas in the roundabout. Drivers should be alert for pedestrians entering these areas and allow them to cross before proceeding to drive in the roundabout. Pedestrians should only cross in the designated crossing areas.
Exit the roundabout: There are four exits on the roundabout to assist drivers with reaching their intended destination. Use the first exit to turn right, use the second exit to go straight, use the third exit to turn left, use the fourth exit to make a U-turn.