Jade Hindmon reporting
ANDERSON, S.C.A plan to widen a road in Anderson County has tempers flaring, as some residents are demanding answers.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation wants to widen a planned east-west highway that would connect Clemson Boulevard to Highway 81 from two lanes to four.
That plan was met with fierce opposition during a meeting Wednesday night.
$4 million in stimulus money available to the SCDOT has prompted the department to add the widening into the plan. Officials said they are trying to be proactive and plan for the future.
For people who live in homes near the proposed construction site, the $15 million project is not a sign of progress.
"It looks like an open wound," said Chris Yon, who lives near the planned roadway. "It's a 150-foot swath."
Others said that the roadway is a reminder that their quiet, rural life could soon change to noisy and commercial.
"We have a lot of wildlife around there," said Cindy Burriss, another resident. "I realize this will be taken away and I'm against that."
People took their concerns right to the planners during a town hall meeting Wednesday night.
The SCDOT said that the limited-access highway will alleviate traffic on surrounding roads and neighborhoods.
"I am respectful to the passionate people and their homes but it's something that we have to look at as the big picture and long term," said Eddie Adams, of the SCDOT.
For people like John Farr, the big picture is losing a quality of life which he moved to the area in search of.
"They've pretty well destroyed the neighborhood and decreased the property value more than what it was before the economy," Farr said. "So it's been bad all the way around."
The Anderson Area Transportation Study will vote on Aug. 16, whether to allow the widening.
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