Major improvements expected for Florence's Oakland Ave.

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) A major roadway in the City of Florence is set to receive a big makeover beginning in Spring, according to the City's Mayor.

During a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Stephen Wukela said he has agreed to work with both Senator Hugh Leatherman and the South Carolina Department of Transportation to improve Oakland Avenue.

Some people tell WMBF that Oakland Avenue has been neglected for years, but improvements are finally on the way. And that has people wondering why they made a move on this issue so close to re-election.

"South Carolina DOT and Florence have a lot on their plate but I don't think any of our constituents will have any complaints about us getting this done whether election year or not," said Wukela.

He says Oakland Avenue is considered a city road and the city did not have the funding for the project.

He says this has been one of the issue he's been pushing since he was elected into office in 2008, but with the help of Senator Leatherman, he was able to get the funding needed to follow through with the improvements.

People in Florence say the roadway needs improvements because it's heavily traveled and the bad drainage system causes the roadway to flood often.

Mukela says this push was not politically geared, but credits Senator Leatherman for helping with the cause.

"This isn't in the senators district, but none of that mattered when we wanted to get something done. He's a strong Republican and I'm a strong Democrat and we were able to work together to make a change and I think that makes a great statement for the community," said Wukela.

Wukela did not release a timetable for the improvements, but says they're waiting for the SCDOT to come out, inspect, and make an estimation. He does expect the project to begin in early spring 2012.

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