Accidents lead to concern over safety of Conway Bypass

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - In less than a week, two serious accidents shut down the roads near the interchange of Hwy 701 and 22. Drivers in the area would like to see a change.

People who live in the area say the biggest problem with the Conway Bypass is having the exit ramp on the left-hand side. They say out of habit, they look for the ramp on the right, and many people get confused.

"You have an overpass but you still have to cross traffic to get on and off the road. Many people don't see the exit sign and will stop to ask for directions," says Tommy Hucks, a neighbor living near the interchange.

Other drivers agree, saying more signs need to be put up near the exit.

Just this week, there were two accidents in the area:

On Tuesday, January 29th, State Troopers said a car was coming up the exit the wrong way when it slammed into an on-coming tractor trailer.

On Wednesday, January 30th, Highway Patrol said a dump truck overturned while merging onto Highway 701. The rocks the truck was carrying covered the road, making it impossible to cross in either lane.

This accident halted traffic and changed the bus route for students at the Academy for Technology and Academics located on the other side of the overpass.

"You have school traffic, people driving to school. I know yesterday after the accident they had to let school out early," explains Hucks.

Neighbors have concern for those young drivers traveling on the highway that has had two accidents this week.

The principal with the Academy for Technology and Academics says his staff is being proactive in keeping student drivers safe.

"We have classes to talk about traffic, rules and regulations around here. If they're not obeying them, we'll get on them because we want to keep them safe," explains David Stoudenmire, the Principal for the Academy for Technology and Academics.

The principal believes many of his students are getting used to the highway.

"They've learned about the overpass and exit ramps so they're pretty careful about that," he says.

In addition, Principal Stoudenmire says the Highway Patrol helps with traffic in the area and works with the school to keep the students as safe as possible.

However, drivers in the area would like to see bigger and better signs put up.

Right now, the Department of Transportation is not planning on making any changes to the area. The agency has performed safety checks, but the Conway Bypass is not on their list of projects.

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