GETTING ANSWERS: Highway 290 (Locust Hill Road)

Updated: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - We’re taking a look at the problems drivers say they have with Highway 290, also known as Locust Hill Road.

This road runs from Greer to Moore through both Greenville and Spartanburg Counties—stretching around 30 miles.

However, according to our “Getting Answers” submissions, the problem area seems to be from Lyman to Travelers Rest.

Dan Lynn has over 80 years of experience in the area.

“Highway 290, Locust Hill Road is terrible,” Lynn said.

Travelers Rest drivers like Tammy Skinner say it’s too busy of a road to be in the this condition.

“It’s horrible. The roads are horrible. The traffic is horrible,” Skinner said.

The words terrible and horrible kept coming up the more drivers we spoke to. The reason? Drivers are sick of dealing with potholes. Skinner says she can hear when she drives over them.

“It’s just like ‘doot-doot doot-doot.’ And it’s scary a little bit, because you don’t know if you busted a tire,” Skinner said, “It just sounds like you’re busting tires as you go over them.”

The portion where 290 intersects with Tigerville Road stands out. We measured some of the patches there. Some are around 11 feet long. Sharon Smathers says they aren’t holding up.

“They just get patched. They never get completely filled. So, the winter comes. And then, it all breaks up again. And you get the potholes—are back. And so, it’s just a continuing process. They never really fix the roads. They never pave over them. They just drop the gravel and tar into the holes. And then, they move on to the next hole,” Smathers said.

The state’s Department of Transportation says they’ve patched 22 within the last year.

Drivers tell us the Spartanburg County side is slightly better. However, they’re disappointed with the work so far.

“They patch the holes. And the coal mix they put on there comes out of the holes. It’s very bad,” Lynn said, “It’s bad on everything about a car.”

With an interesting name like Locust Hill Road; it makes you think about locusts—the bugs. They can be seen in swarms. And, to some, it could be a scary sight to see; almost as scary as Skinner says it is to avoid the swarms of potholes while driving.

“Fix the potholes—the cracks in the road. I mean, I have to swerve sometimes just to miss it, because you don’t want to mess your tires up,” Skinner said.

Lynn has some ideas on how to fix it.

“Completely cap it, resurface it. That takes about an inch—inch and a half of new asphalt. And then, they’ve got to do all the driveways. You’ve got to raise the levels on everything. That would be the most economical thing for them to do,” Lynn said.

Here’s what the SCDOT says is actually being done. Locust Hill Road was included in the 2021-2022 Pavement Improvement Program. Over ten miles will be resurfaced from Highway 101 to Highway 25.

“The problem never seems to be resolved. And I think a highway like Locust Hill, 290 with as much traffic as you can see going by, right now; they need to address the problem,” Smathers said.

6,700 to 18,200 vehicles travel Highway 290 per day.

The letting date is Jan. 12, according to the SCDOT. And Smathers hopes when they choose a completion date, that they’ll stick to it.

“I hope, once they start the project, they’re committed to their deadline,” Smathers said.

The portion of the Spartanburg County side from North Line Street to South Danzler Road was also included in this program. It is still waiting to be awarded.