US 29 Improvement Project: SCDOT seeks public comment on ‘worst-performing’ rural roadways

SCDOT estimates in rural areas, run-off-the road crashes account for almost 50% of all fatal and severe injury crashes.
Making Rural Roads Safer
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 8:29 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina has the 10th fastest growth rate in the nation. And it’s evident by the number of roadway projects. But projects aren’t concentrated to the state’s urban areas. There’s growing discussions and work on the state’s “worst-performing” rural roadways.

Claudia Butler has lived along US 29 in Cherokee County her entire life.

“I used to sit on the mailbox and play at the road,” she said.

But the time, just like the traffic is much different. In addition to higher volumes of traffic, there roadway has seen many accidents.

“Sometimes literally backup,” Butler said.

And the SCDOT says the stretch where Butler lives is a place where they’ve identified a higher frequency and severity of crashes.

“(There’s) a very bad curve,” she said.

A story FOX Carolina heard repeatedly.

“If getting off the road drops you 20-feet down -- then yeah, (there’s an issue),” said Dave Vassy.

“There were nine fatal and serious injury crashes over a period of five years along this corridor and 70 run-off-the road crashes. So that’s a significant number,” added Kaylon Meetze, SCDOT projects manager.

It’s numbers identified by the Rural Roads Safety Program, created by the SC Department of Transportation in 2017 to reduce fatal and serious crashes. And today, there’s new data that’s driving the DOT to seek more public engagement. Meetze is the Rural Roads Safety Program projects manager. The program estimates in rural areas, run-off-the road crashes account for almost 50% of all fatal and severe injury crashes.

“With our counter measures we can prevent fatal and serious injuries,” she said. “So that’s why you’re seeing DOT workers everywhere in the state.”

On Thursday, the DOT sought public comment on the US 29 Safety Improvement Project, which begins at the Spartanburg - Cherokee County line and runs a six mile stretch near Margan Drive (S-307). Proposed engineering solutions include the widening and paving of shoulders.

“So that way if a vehicle does depart their lane it gives them an area to recover and get back in their lane safely without crashing,” Meetze said.

Other proposals include a guardrail, wider and brighter pavement markings, and edgeline and centerline rumble strips.

“Once they hit those rumble strips it kind of brings their attention back to the roadway and back to what their focus should be,” Meetze said.

The DOT says the purpose of the meeting was to allot time for the people who travel along US 29 and stakeholders to review and comment on the proposals.

“I would like to see roads repaired first,” Vassy said. “I can give you three roads that need highway dollars more than some of this.”

“Be an advocate for yourself and just be informed,” Butler added.

If you missed the meeting you can provide comments and feedback online until Feb. 10, visit

And the SCDOT also makes it easy to keep people informed about other projects, no matter where you are. To learn more, visit

“They are the users of the roadway and we want them to be happy with it,” Meetze said.

The right of way should be granted in the spring and the work would begin in late 2024.