CCU to acquire University Boulevard to improve safety at intersections

vgrooms@thesunnews.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Rain at Coastal Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has deeded University Boulevard to Coastal Carolina University, which will likely build raised crosswalks on the road for students.

FILE PHOTO BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

The S.C. Department of Transportation is donating University Boulevard to Coastal Carolina University, which is planning new measures for several of the road’s intersections to improve student safety.

University Boulevard is the entrance road to CCU that runs from U.S. 501 to S.C. 544. The university’s board of trustees approved the acquisition at its meeting Friday.

CCU had asked for a traffic signal at University Drive and University Boulevard when Lackey Chapel and the adjoining parking lot were built, but S.C. DOT said no to the request, said Eddie Dyer, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Subsequent requests were submitted for other measures, such as lowering the speed limit, putting in speed bumps or adding caution lights, but those also were denied, he said.

“[S.C. DOT] said the book – whatever book they go by – doesn’t suggest anything for those areas, but we’ll be glad to deed you that road, and you can do it,” Dyer said. “We said OK, if that’s the only way we can protect our students.”

The university will probably build raised crosswalks at the two intersections of University Boulevard and Chanticleer Drive, and at the intersection with University Drive, Dyer said, as well as drop the speed limit to 25 mph from 35 mph. CCU estimates it will have to put aside $70,000 to pave the road from the roundabout to S.C. 544 every 10 years, he said.

University Boulevard is still a public right of way, said Dennis Townsend, engineering administrator with S.C. DOT’s fifth highway district, but CCU is assuming the maintenance responsibility. He said this type of road transfer doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen several times a year with entities such as cities and school districts that don’t see eye to eye with DOT on its decisions.

“It could happen over an issue like parking or changing traffic flow, and they’ll disagree with something we can’t allow because of our standards,” Townsend said. “It’s not that they’re wrong or we’re wrong, they just don’t agree with our assessment of the situation.”

The transfer will take place after the road is resurfaced by the Horry County Transportation Committee, which will probably happen in late summer.

The university tries to have paving done between mid-May and the first of August, when the majority of students aren’t on campus, Dyer said.

Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401.

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