South Carolina interstates among deadliest in the nation - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

South Carolina interstates among deadliest in the nation

The Interstate 95 corridor goes through Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk) The Interstate 95 corridor goes through Florence. (Source: Audrey Biesk)

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina interstates have the sixth highest fatality rate in the nation.

This is according to a study released Monday morning from a transportation research group, called TRIP. It marks the 60th anniversary of the interstate system.

Based out of Washington D. C. the study said travel is surging on the interstate system, which continues to save lives, time and money, but is increasingly congested and lacks funding for needed improvements.

WMBF News talked with two state House representatives that serve the Pee Dee. They both agreed on one thing - one death is too many.

They talked about the amount of large tractor-trailers and a lack of funding to repair roads to keep them safe.

"Even though we’ve had a road bill in this session and certainly it has passed, but I think at some point we should be looking at tolls in certain areas, especially when we have these large trucks that are traveling goods and services down the road and they do a lot of damage,” said Rep. Robert Williams, who represents District 62.

District 63 Rep. Jay Jordan District said Interstate 95 and Interstate 20, which pass through Florence, has, "trucks coinciding with the family station wagon riding up and down the interstate." 

As lawmakers, they said, in Columbia, infrastructure is at the top of their list, and focusing on funding and tax dollars.

“We want that message sent very clearly that we need our roads to be in the highest standard of performance possible,” Williams said.

Right now the Department of Transportation said the nation’s current investment in transportation is only 60 percent of what is needed to keep the roads in good condition. 

“We have a lot of forestry," Jordan said. "You know, historically, South Carolina is rural in nature and we have a lot of trees in the median, and when you’re traveling 70 miles an hour down the interstate it's not exactly a safe thing. So taking down those trees and converting to a more modern wire tension-raised median is a lot safer. Maybe not as aesthetically pleasing but a lot safer for motorists.”

Williams said his solution for a lack of funding is to charge people money to drive on the roads.

“If they use it, everyone who uses it needs to share in the cost too," he said. "We do it in other states. You cant go through without giving up some change.”

Both representatives said state lawmakers will continue to work with DOT to make the roads and interstates safer.

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