Sam Jenkins looked at the traffic on Joe Frazier Road in Burton and liked what he didn't see -- a blur.
He said he loves the new traffic circle under construction at the intersection of Joe Frazier, Morrall Drive and Pine Grove Road, designed to slow motorists.
"Traffic used to fly down here, even though the speed limit is only 45," Jenkins said. "Late at night it used to be a speedway, but now it's like normal traffic."
The S.C. Department of Transportation took on the project to try to reduce the number of accidents at the intersection, according to safety projects engineer Keith Riddle.
Between 2005 and 2008, the DOT counted 12 crashes at the intersection, six involving injuries, which Riddle characterized as a high rate. Most of the crashes involved vehicles making right turns, he said, and the roundabout should eliminate that problem.
The department also tracked the number of vehicles passing through the intersection during rush hours. Between 7 and 8 a.m., about 400 vehicles travel Joe Frazier Road, and about 110 travel the crossroads of Morrall Drive and Pine Grove Road, Riddle said.
Not only would a stoplight disrupt most of the intersection's traffic, but electricity and maintenance would cost more than a traffic circle, he said.
The $450,000 project was expected to be done by the end of July but will take longer because of work with utility lines. Assistant resident construction engineer Ralph Cooke said work should be done the week of Aug. 20. Vehicles can now pass through the intersection despite the construction, but access will vary based on daily work.
At first, resident Michael Glaze said he was concerned about a traffic circle in his neighborhood. After meeting with DOT officials, he said he understands the need to reduce accidents and why this is a lower-cost option than a spotlight.
His family property is at the southeast corner of Pine Grove and Joe Frazier roads, and like other property owners, he gave up a corner of land so the DOT could build the circle.
"Now, I'm just happy they're going to get done," he said. "I think it's going to serve its purpose."
Aaron Rogers, who has lived at the northeast corner of Pine Grove and Joe Frazier roads for two and a half years, said the circle slows traffic but has introduced new problems.
"A lot of people can't get used to it yet, and they don't know they have to yield," Rogers said. "Sometimes I have to stop to avoid them."
He also had to stop short to avoid hitting a tractor trailer that was attempting to go around the circle. The driver had to get out of the truck cab and move the traffic cones to get through the intersection. Rogers said the lanes are too narrow for a vehicle of that size.
- Work on Beaufort traffic circle to resume today, July 29, 2012
- Traffic circle to be built in Burton area, June 20, 2012
- 2 injured in crash on Joe Frazier Road in Burton, Feb. 28, 2011