SUMMERVILLE, SC – New roads are desperately needed in Summerville, but one is planned right through a neighborhood.
When Mark Baker bought his home in the Weatherstone neighborhood 10 years ago, he didn’t know a road was planned to split the neighborhood.
“I love the community,” Baker told News 2’s Rebecca Collett. “The growth and development is phenomenal.”
But he says when he tried to sell his home, he heard the same negative feedback again and again.
“They loved the house. They love the community. The negative feedback I got from most of those showings was concerns about the proposed road,” he explained.
The original neighborhood builder left a track of land to the town for future use, and the proposed road splits the neighborhood. Homeowners say the road cuts through wetlands; attracts extra traffic; and brings more noise and pollution.
“It changes the entire dynamic of the neighborhood,” Baker said.
“We’ve got a pretty extensive mitigation plan for each of their concerns,” Councilman Terry Jenkins said when News 2 asked him about the plans and impact on the community.
The town engineer says plans would speed bumps, stop signs, and barriers where the project runs through the neighborhood. Plus, town leaders say the road offers a new entrance and exit to the neighborhood and will reduce congestion in and around Weatherstone.
“From a traffic congestion perspective, I think the current route makes sense,” Jenkins said.
But some residents aren’t convinced.
“Right now the Weatherstone neighborhood has one main road in and out. Many residents bought homes because of this fact, the community is closed to any outside traffic, and it makes them feel safe and secure within the community,” Susan McLean told News 2.
The town already invested some $300,000 into the project, but the town engineer is looking into costs associated with starting a different, new road plan from scratch.
Some residents welcome the road.
“It helps gets the kids back and forth from school without all the traffic,” one homeowner said.
The current plan Bear Island Road is for two lanes, but Mark worries with more traffic needs, the road could be expanded.
“That will be a four lane road. It may not happen in 2 years or 3 years, but it will become a four lane road.”
The Town spokesperson said that’s not going to happen.
“The projected traffic numbers do not warrant it being widened in the foreseeable future, at least the next 25+ years. With the extension of the road, Bear Island would serve the same purpose as many other two lane roads running through numerous other subdivisions within the town of Summerville. There are no plans to wide these or Bear Island Rd. to four lanes,” a statement from the town explained.