GETTING ANSWERS: Return Church Road

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 8:25 PM EDT
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OCONEE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Return Church Road came up multiple times throughout our submission and on Facebook.

So, we looked into it’s problems.

This road is on Oconee County. It stretches about six miles through Seneca and Westminster between Highway 24 and Wells Highway.

The potholes get very uncomfortable near the intersection of Twin Lakes Road.

Scott Holbrooks deals with these problems often.

“It’s just falling apart. And it’s not wide enough,” said Holbrooks.

Holbrooks cuts yards, but says there’s a bit of an obstacle trying to get to them.

“It’ll knock it out of line. It’ll bounce so much that my lawn mowers on my trailer will get kicked/knocked sideways,” Holbrooks said.

And Joann Cantrell says when the weather isn’t so nice, it makes matters worse.

“When they patch the holes; you get the little black stuff all over your car,” Cantrell said, “That’s all they do is just come in and patch them. And then, the next time it rains, they’re right back like they are.”

The state’s Department of Transportation says there were 27 pothole requests in the last year. 35 were completed total.

Drivers also point out the issue of standing water.

Mike Head has lived in the area for over five decades.

“What it’s doing, in my opinion, is creating ruts in this road that, when it rains, we have a lot of standing water that causes cars to hydroplane,” said Head.

The state Highway Patrol reported 25 crashes in this area over five years.

The SCDOT says you can report standing water to Oconee Maintenance at

“I’ve watched the road deteriorate a good bit,” Head said, “They used to keep them up really nicely back when it was just tar and gravel, but now, they have better technology. That’d do well to fix the roads better.”

Return Church Road sees between 1,500 and 1,800 vehicles per day, according to the DOT.

Cantrell wants crews to just start from scratch.

“That they would repave the whole thing, because it’s bad, all the way, from one end, all the way to the other,” said Cantrell.

The SCDOT tells us Return Church will be resurfaced from Sam Brown Road to Wells Highway. That area brought the most complaints to us. It’s a part of the 2023 Pavement Improvement Program. However, the portion from West Oak Highway to Sam Brown Road is not a resurfacing candidate at this time.

“We need safe roads to carry your kids back and forth to school,” said Holbrooks, “I pick up grandkids and take them, every day, when school is in session.”

The project has a letting date of March 2023. That means it will open bids for improvement—usually around 90 days before the work starts.

Submit a roadway here.