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Roads: Traffic studies will determine if Pawleys gets roundabout

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Save the date.

State engineers are reviewing traffic data to determine the best way to improve the intersection of Waverly Road and Petigru Drive, the intersection with the highest number of collisions outside the Highway 17 corridor, according to state data.

“We’re still evaluating,” said Leah Quattlebaum, the project manager for the state Department of Transportation. Georgetown County put the intersection on the list of projects funded through the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study. It’s listed as a $1.3 million project with construction scheduled for the fiscal year that begins in July 2018. But the actual cost will depend on what DOT decides. “That’s just the old money for a new project,” said Mark Hoeweler, senior staff member for the transportation study. “We have to determine what the cost will be.”

The funds were originally allocated to improve the intersection of Highway 17 and Country Club Drive in Litchfield, but shifted to Waverly and Petigru when right-of-way issues snarled the Litchfield project.

The county proposed a roundabout for the intersection because Petigru Drive takes a job to the right where it meets Waverly Road. “We’re doing counts to determine the traffic patterns,” Quattlebaum said. If those don’t justify a roundabout, the alternative would be to realign the intersection. “We know there are a lot of oak trees,” she said, adding that the agency would like to avoid cutting them.

“I suspect the ability to do something there is going to be cheaper with a roundabout,” Hoeweler said. DOT expects to have a recommendation for the intersection by the end of the year. With that in hand, state and county officials will meet on the site and come up with a cost estimate.

There have been 29 collisions in and around the intersection since 2005, according to data from the state Department of Public Safety. The highest number was five accidents in 2005. Through August this year, there were four accidents at the intersection.

At the intersection at Waverly and Kings River Road, which has a four-way stop, there have been 22 collisions since 2005. There were 18 at the three-way intersection of Waverly and Martin Luther King Road in the same period.

The offset and the limited sight lines make the Waverly-Petigru intersection a problem, Quattlebaum said.

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