Speed Patrol: Aynor update

By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

AYNOR, SC (WMBF) - After hearing concerns about speeding on US-501 around the Jordanville Road intersection, WMBF Speed Patrol caught up with SCDOT officials to find out what was being done to make the area safer.

As traffic flows through Aynor on Highway 501, the cars pass right by Tommy Hawkins' business and often over the 45 mph limit.

"When cars are going too fast they're not going to stop anyway," Hawkins said. "They don?t even see us. They go by so fast they don?t even know we're here."

It is a Catch 22, he says, because when the light turns red at Jordanville Road and traffic backs up, an entirely different issue arises.

When that happens," Hawkins said, "cars going west cannot get into my place of business."

Hawkins is not the only one concerned about traffic coming through on 501. Last school year, then Aynor High Principal Marion Shaw spoke out about the busy intersection.

"We have a lot of traffic crossing 501 at that light," Shaw said. "I'm extremely concerned about our students and our school buses that travel back and forth."

Aynor Police Chief Leonard McCrackin added, "A lot of people try to make that traffic light. They see it turn yellow, then red, and then they go on through."

McCrackin says the intersection has been a problem spot for years.

"My advice to them is 'Hey, the beach is not going anywhere.' Just slow down," he said.

To help the problem, SCDOT has put in extra lights in front of the intersection and special back plates and reflectors to make the lights more visible to drivers.

"Yes that does help. You can see a little bit better," driver Sean Swarts said. "When you've got the sun coming down at it, it does make it hard, but with the reflectors and everything it is easier."

SCDOT says these changes are the first step to making the intersection safer. A flashing caution light, which Chief McCrackin would still like to see go in, would require a engineering study before it could be put in place.

?2009 WMBF News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.