Sept. 14, 2017

Nicole Smith
Richland Penny Public Information

Bluff Road widening ribbon cutting set for Sept. 19

Project designed to improve traffic flow, increase pedestrian safety near football stadium and

S.C. State Fairgrounds

University of South Carolina football fans will soon be in for a pleasant surprise when they arrive at Williams-Brice Stadium for the first home game on Sept. 16.

There they’ll discover that Bluff Road, between Rosewood Drive and George Rogers Boulevard, has been widened to five lanes with bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, thanks to a collaborative effort spearheaded by the Richland County Transportation Program.

The ribbon cutting celebrating the completion of this $5,014,298 project will be at 10:30 a.m.  Tuesday, Sept. 19 near the State Fairgrounds. “We are extremely excited about this major widening project, which shows our commitment in delivering on our promise to our citizens,” said Tony Edwards, acting Richland County transportation director.

University of South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner, Richland County Council chair Joyce Dickerson, and South Carolina State Fair general manager Gary Goodman are among those slated to attend the ceremony.

This is Phase 1 of the project, designed to increase pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow around the stadium and the South Carolina State Fairgrounds. The Richland County Transportation Program collaborated with the State Fair, the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina and the SCDOT.

The State Fair donated roughly 8 feet of property along Rosewood Drive and Bluff Road for the walkway, the city of Columbia will maintain lighting along the road, and USC coordinated crosswalk locations with the county to ensure pedestrians can cross the roads safely.

“I have nothing but praise for the Richland County Transportation Program and well as the other partners for helping make this project a reality,” said State Fair manager, Gary Goodman. “This will greatly improve the pedestrian experience along Bluff Road and Rosewood Drive.”

Among the more visible highlights of the first phase is a 10-foot wide concrete pedestrian and bicycle path from Rosewood Drive to George Rogers Boulevard along the State Fair property. There also is an 8-foot wide pathway for walkers and bikers on the opposite side of Bluff Road, and an 8-foot wide sidewalk along Rosewood Drive from the fair’s north gate to Bluff Road.

“These are things that will have an immediate positive impact on local residents, State Fair goers and USC football fans,” Edwards says. “This project helps make this much-used entertainment area more accessible.”

Other equally functional but less noticeable improvements include a storm water run-off drainage system and the relocation of several overhead utilities underground. Cherokee Inc. completed Phase 1, after beginning the project in Nov. 2016.

Construction on the second phase of the project, from National Guard Road to South Beltline Boulevard, is expected to begin in 2018. The project ultimately will widen the road from Rosewood Drive to Interstate-77 and will include a center turn lane with pedestrian and bike paths as well as enhanced lighting.

The Richland County Transportation Program includes projects throughout the county during a 22-year period or until $1.07 billion in sales tax revenue is collected. The program is divided into three major categories – roadways, The Comet and bicycle/pedestrian/greenways – and includes such projects as road widenings, intersection improvements, sidewalks, bikeways and dirt road paving.