Cost Analysis

Fort Mill area road planners seem stuck in the past

November 19, 2013 

A key part of planning is to see into the future instead of preparing only for the present. But some transportation planners seem to be stuck in the past.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a road project and thought to myself that by the time things are finished, it will already need to be updated. The I-485 loop around Charlotte is a perfect example. No road should be designed so that it is perpetually clogged during rush hour, yet before the loop has been linked, it is already broken.

Unfortunately, I see the same sort of keen foresight being put to use on the bypass soon to run through Fort Mill.

I don’t want to denigrate planners, but it seems pretty evident that if the need for a new road exists, there must already be a problem. To keep the problem from coming back, you probably need to make the road as efficient as possible. Most of these new projects seem to come off as putting a Band-Aid on a severed artery. For instance, I can tell you with a near certainty that we already have traffic issues in the area of Hwy. 160 West and Gold Hill Road and widening 160 by one lane won’t even make a dent in easing the daily traffic jams, especially if the plan is to put more housing along both roads.

That isn’t me being a genius, it is simply common sense. Likewise, even a lay person like myself can surmise that if a bypass is planned that is mostly one lane each way and hundreds of new homes and two new schools are going to be in close proximity to the bypass, that one lane will be fairly useless in no time. I’m not even sure two lanes will be good enough.

Maybe there is some magic formula kept secret by departments of transportation across the country that mere mortals couldn’t possibly comprehend. Maybe there is a planned obsolescence at work that will ensure future improvements by intentionally doing the bare minimum initially. Frankly, I’m not sure what’s going on. So maybe I’m the stupid one.

We will see in five years.

You can reach Scott at to send him dunce caps.

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