52 killed in accidents on Highway 61 in the last 10 years; SCDOT working toward safety improvements

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Highway 61 is one of the most scenic and historic roads in South Carolina, but it also one of the deadliest. Now, the South Carolina Department of Transportation is continuing to work toward a project to improve safety on the road.

According to preliminary data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 52 people have been killed in traffic accidents on Highway 61 in the last 10 years. 18 people were killed in accidents in Charleston County and 17 people were killed in Dorchester County.

The road is about 65 miles long and streches from Bamberg County to West Ashley. 

Recently, surveying work was completed for the DOT project that would add a four-foot-wide shoulder to Highway 61 from the Givhans area to the Dorchester and Charleston County line.

Officials say that there is a need for a shoulder because there is little room for driver error on the road.

“Right now it has virtually no shoulder,” said Robby Robbins, the SCDOT Commisioner for the 1st Congressional District. “Traffic counts on that road have increased dramatically over the last 10 or 15 years and it is very dark at night and I think there are a lot of people here in the Lowcountry now that are not used to driving on roads like that.”

Robbins said that the portion of Highway 61 in Charleston County has already been resurfaced and said improvements need to made now in Dorchester County.

The project has been underway but was delayed when SCDOT had to focus its efforts in the Pee Dee region after Hurricane Florence, according to Robbins.

Public meetings will be held in the spring for residents to weigh in on the project.

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