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Roads: Lack of easement means oaks will fall on route to park

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The lack of an easement along the road to Stables Park will require Georgetown County to cut oak trees it had planned to save as part of a road paving project, according to the director of Public Services. “The Achilles heel in my job is easement acquisition,” said Ray Funnye.

After a public hearing in March 2016, Funnye was optimistic that paving would start in the fall. This week, he said the county is close to obtaining the last two easements it needs to complete the project. But the project will have to be changed for lack of another easement.

The original design showed the road dividing around a stand of oak trees. But the easement “wasn’t available,” on the east side of the route, Funnye said. “We had to redesign to take out those trees.”

The county tax maps show the property is owned by the heirs of James Keith. Funnye said the county does not like to condemn property.

With the last easements in hand, the paving should be done by late summer, he said. The work will include recommendations from a study of drainage in the area that the county began last year, Funnye added.

The state Department of Transportation is reviewing the lone bid to improve the intersection of Martin Luther King Road and Petigru Drive. If approved, it would take another 90 days to award a contract, said Rebecca Breland, the regional project manager for DOT.

The $925,000 project will add turn turning lanes at the intersection. In a related project, Georgetown County will pave two-thirds of a mile of Petigru Drive between Martin Luther King Road and Aspen Loop in Litchfield Country Club. The estimated cost is $650,000.

DOT is also moving forward with plans for a roundabout at Petigru Drive and Waverly Road, Breland said. The two sections of Petigru don’t align at the intersection, and the agency decided a roundabout would be the best solution. “We like them,” Breland said. “We’ve found them to be safe.”

Right-of-way acquisition is due to start in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Construction, estimated at $1 million, is due to start the following year.

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