Lexington Traffic Improvements: Just How Many Cars Travel Main St. Every Morning?

March 9, 2016 | Posted By: Connor Watkins

March 16 Breakfast Meeting

Traffic.

If you live, work, eat, or shop in Lexington, you’re familiar with it. Every day in the Town of Lexington an incredible number of vehicles travel our roads and not just during peak travel times.

“As of 6:00 am this morning, 2,866 cars have travelled Main Street,” Lexington Mayor Steve MacDougall said Tuesday to open his discussion at the Greater Lexington Chamber’s monthly breakfast. “Over 8,110 cars have traversed Highway 378 – one way.”

MacDougall addressed the crowd, reviewing some of last year’s achievements and updating progress on numerous projects for the current year, including several that should make great strides in alleviating traffic issues.

“Phase one of the adaptive signalizations system is in progress and is expected to be completed in about six months. Five of the 19 signalized intersections are fully adaptive and went live this January,” MacDougall said. “These five signal groups have increased traffic flow on Main Street by almost 20 percent.”

Nine more intersections are expected to come online once fiber communications are fully implemented across the network. The remaining phase one signals require mast arm installations and are on schedule for late spring. Phase two of this project, which includes 16 signalized intersections, require right of way acquisition, which is being handled by SCDOT.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to efforts to improve traffic conditions in Lexington.

“In October of 2015, we took a very bold step and instituted the two percent hospitality tax. This is an effort by council to finally take the lead to improve traffic conditions throughout our town,” MacDougall said. “The three projects that we highlighted are currently being studied by three different engineering firms and models are being approved by SCDOT and staff.”

The first project is at a 30 percent design completion, construction will start this fall. The downtown improvement project will turn Highway 6 and Church Street into one-way pairs and help alleviate traffic congestion along Highway 1 and give 45 percent more green light time to the Main Street area, according to MacDougall. A 250-space parking lot will also be added to serve Virginia Hylton Park, all of our downtown businesses, and the amphitheater, which is part of Project Icehouse.

The second project involves crossroad improvements at Lake Drive and Sunset Blvd. near Lexington Middle School. This is currently being studied by SCDOT to ensure the plan that was presented is the best way to alleviate congestion in that area.

Finally, a global traffic analysis is underway to study the entire Corley Mill Road, I-20 corridor and is expected to be completed by April of this year.

One of the main projects for 2016 is Project Icehouse, which has been besieged by record-setting rains over the past six months. It is now at 35% completion and has two of the main buildings coming up out of the ground. This 900-seat amphitheater, still in the construction phase, has had the greatest impact on Main Street, according to the mayor.

“There is substantial interest in the downtown properties and discussion on current buildings and new construction is happening daily,” he said. “We are in negotiations to sell a second piece of property on the amphitheater and create more activity in the downtown corridor. We are hoping that substantial completion of this project will occur by this summer.”

Welcome signs are being constructed at I-20 and Augusta Road, along with Old Cherokee and North Lake Drive in a continuation of the town’s vision plan, which was adopted in 2012. These are in addition to the welcome sign at I-20 and Sunset Blvd.

“This is an effort by the town, not only to beautify, but to welcome people to the town that we know as such a wonderful place to live,” MacDougall said.

The Main Street beautification project is at 40 percent completion and should be finished in early April. Trees and irrigation have been installed, and the brick planters and pavers are being constructed.

The town will also open a centralized town maintenance facility to house equipment for the police, parks and transportation departments, and it will become the home for the utilities department.

Annexations in the town continue to happen on a monthly basis. During the 2015 calendar year, 111 acres annexed into the town with a taxable value of $7.2 million. The town also issued more than 3,100 business licenses in 2015. Total value of construction throughout the town last year was $33 million. Current figures for total construction for 2016 total a value of over $80 million. This includes 18 new commercial buildings valued at $51.6 million. Lexington also will permit more houses this year than the 116 homes permitted for all of 2015.

One of the biggest achievements last year was the closing of the Coventry Woods Waste Water treatment plant, saving the town approximately $400,000 in annual operational and maintenance costs.

“We now flow the one million gallons that was flowing to that plant to our new waste water treatment facility in Cayce that opened in 2012,” MacDougall said. That brings the total at the Cayce plant o three million gallons each day. “We have capacity at that plant for 12.5 million gallons a day, so we have plenty of room for growth.”

Beautification efforts continue to happen throughout the town, and a void was filled with Caractor Park, an award-winning green space on Hendrix Street.

“I am honored to be your mayor and lead the charge during this very exciting time of growth in our community,” MacDougall said in closing. “Council and I will work to grow this town respectfully and responsibly.”

The breakfast was sponsored by Lexington Medical Center and catered by Crescent Moon Restaurant.