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GETTING ANSWERS: Highway 11

This week we are Getting Answers about the issues on HWY 11.
Updated: Jul. 11, 2021 at 10:24 AM EDT
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OCONEE COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) - We’re getting answers concerning drivers’ frustrations with Highway 11 from Fair Play to Walhalla.

Drivers tell us the problem areas are from Exit 1 off of I-85, driving North through Seneca, until you get to Walhalla.

Drivers, like Kenntha Noel, describe their experiences.

“It’s like a roller coaster. Up and down the hills—all the bumps, and all that; it’s just ridiculous,” Noel said.

Jenika Herron says the potholes start immediately in the first exit in their county.

“Welcome to Oconee County. Our roads are horrible,” Herron said.

Perhaps the worst batch of potholes and patches are from right after Exit 1 until Lake Hartwell State Park. Linda Reynolds says she can’t stand it.

“It’s nothing but bumpy, bumpy, bumpy all through,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds says, often, it’s not worth the drive.

“Sometimes I don’t even come down this way. I go through Toccoa and go down 123 to get back to where I live,” said Reynolds.

Herron has to take this route to work every day.

“Highway 11 is the worst in our county,” Herron said, “My husband always says, ‘it would be better to be a gravel road.’ And it’s true. If we had a gravel road and it was packed down, it would be smoother than getting off of the interstate right there and driving down this part. And it’s rough all the way up this part.”

Drivers have compared the drive to a ride over a cheese grater, among other things. Jacob McCall was eager to speak about the road conditions.

“Riding down an old, gravel road, probably going about 40, 50 miles an hour, no suspension under the car—that’s exactly what it feels like,” McCall said.

McCall says he’s ruined tires and damaged his motorcycle on the highway.

“The people have already recognized there is a problem. Now, we need the Department of Transportation to recognize there is a problem,” McCall said.

We reached out to the SCDOT. Communications Director, Pete Poore, says the portion of Highway 11 that starts near I-85 will be resurfaced in late August/early September. The area until shortly after Highway 24 will be resurfaced in the 2022 Pavement Improvement Program that was recently approved. The final part near Highway 123 is not currently included on any projects but could be considered for the 2023 program.

Noel wonders why the gas tax doesn’t cover the entire pave.

“I thought the purpose of the tax that was going on the gas was for that, but a lot hasn’t gotten done,” said Noel.

It will take a little more patience from drivers for the road to be fixed in its entirety. Hopefully, within the next few years, Highway 11′s potholes won’t be the welcome mat for Oconee County.

“There will be a lot of happy people—especially Fair Play people, but definitely me,” Herron said.

The SCDOT has completed paving on the section of Highway 11 North of Westminster, other than final pavement markings.

Submit a roadway here.