Last updated: October 16. 2013 7:34AM - 1043 Views
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com

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LOCKHART — The future of an important part of the Town of Lockhart will be the subject of a presentation by the S.C. Department of Transportation Thursday and town officials are urging the public to attend.

The SCDOT will hold a public hearing from 5-7 p.m. Thursday concerning plans for the proposed bridge replacements over Broad River, Lockhart Canal, Canal Road and Lockhart Drive. The hearing, which will be held at Lockhart First Baptist Church Family Life Center, 126 Armory Road, Lockhart, is designed to provide the public with the opportunity to review and discuss with SCDOT personnel the preliminary plans for the bridge replacements.

Another purpose of the hearing is to enable SCOT personnel to gather information from members of the public on their view of the impact of the replacements. Lockhart Town Council member Connie Porter urged residents of Lockhart and others who use the bridge to attend the meeting and voice their views.

“They need to voice their views on what’s going to happen with the bridge,” Porter said Wednesday. “We want to keep part of the canal bridge open for fishing and walking, but they said it is not possible. We originally wanted people who use the bridge for fishing to come and say how important it is to them. The river brings people to Lockhart and they use the bridge to fish from.”

Porter said that the town had been told that if the bridge was to be preserved someone other than the state would have to assume responsibility for it. She said that the town does not have the funds to do so and it is unlikely that a private owner could be found.

Even though the existing bridge will likely be closed and demolished, Porter said it is still important for people to attend the meeting and make their views about its replacement and the replacement of the other bridges known. She said the SCDOT will be providing the public with information about the new bridges and this will give them an opportunity to speak about them.

“What they’re going to do is show everybody where the new bridges will be,” Porter said. “They’re going to keep the traffic flowing on the old bridges while they are building the new ones so people won’t have to detour.”

Porter said those who sign up during the first part of the presentation will be able to speak during the second part. If they do not want to speak during the presentation, they can write their comments down and turn them over the SCDOT personnel for review.

Mayor Ailene Ashe also urged the public to attend, pointing out that the bridges are not only important to the people of Lockhart but also to other residents of Union County, adjacent counties and anyone else who uses the bridges.

“Highway 9 goes from the mountains to the sea, it ends in Cherry Grove at the Atlantic Ocean,” Ashe said. “So this is important to anyone who uses those bridges. They need to be there because it is just really important that we participate in this.”

According to the SCDOT, the hearing will be informal from 5-6 p.m. with large aerial displays of the entire project available for viewing. SCDOT project team members will be present to discuss the project with interested citizens on an individual basis.

The second part of the hearing will begin at 6 p.m. with a brief, formal presentation by SCDOT personnel about the project’s purpose and need, its schedule, and any potential natural and human impacts on the community. Immediately following the presentation those attending the hearing will have the opportunity to publicly comment on the project. Those who want to speak during this time must sign up to do so between 5 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. during the first half of the hearing. Each speaker will be limited to two minutes and the time they are allotted may not be transferred.

Related maps and/or drawings, environmental assessment and other pertinent data are available for public review at least 15 days prior to the public hearing at the SCDOT’s District 4 Office at 1232 JA Cochran Bypass, Chester, S.C. 29706. Project information, including meeting materials and comment forms will also be available on the SCDOT website (http://www.scdot.org), “Public Hearings” Quicklink.

For more information, the public may contact Brian Klauk, SCDOT Program Manager, at (803) 737-5051 in Columbia, or at klaukbd@scdot.org. Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations should contact Lis Bleasdale at (803) 737-1395.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

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