The Island Packet's editorial of June 13 stated the problem and solution clearly: "Safer U.S. 278 should be high on everyone's list." The general public knows this, but apparently the South Carolina Department of Transportation does not. In the DOT's plans to widen U.S. 278 from Simmonsville Road to S.C. 170, officials propose to make this roadway even more dangerous by increasing the number of lanes in each direction to three. Residents of the Island West community, with more than 250 homes, are more than concerned; they are downright scared. With only one way to enter and leave their community, they use deceleration and acceleration lanes. The department's widening plans eliminate these lanes so that community traffic (including school buses) will have to merge into high-speed traffic. Directly across from the Island West entrance, where one auto dealership already exists and two more are planned, the department will be adding an access road so that commercial customers can safely access the dealerships. But where community residents and children's safety are concerned, the situation will go from bad to worse once widening begins. Traffic lights exist at other communities, such as Rose Hill, Berkeley Hall, Belfair and Moss Creek. Island West should not be excluded. Island West has asked for a traffic signal, but so far the request has fallen on deaf ears. Jim Cuff, president Island West Homeowners Association Bluffton
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