It’s Your Money: Drivers frustrated and fearful of pothole-ridden road

It’s Your Money: Drivers frustrated and fearful of pothole-ridden road
Frustration over the lack of construction on Log Cabin Road in Loris has caused some residents to voice their concerns on the road.

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Residents who live off Log Cabin Road in Loris are frustrated and concerned after years of driving on the road with one pothole after another.

“It’s just bump bump bump and it rattles and you can just hear everything shaking and making noise and you’re like, ‘Please God, please fix this road,'” said Lynn Dunfee, one resident who lives in the area.

Dunfee has used Log Cabin Road to drive in and out of her neighborhood for the past six years.

“There is only Log Cabin, that’s the only way in. So we have no choice, we can’t avoid it,” she explained.

Dunfee said the two-lane street is lined with potholes and while they occasionally get filled in, it doesn’t work.

“There was a big one, about 5 feet long, 3 feet wide, that one stayed in place. I think because it was so big. The other ones pop right back out. They don’t batch them all, they’ll patch one or two and leave four or five,” Dunfee said.

For the residents who drive the road every day, their annoyance is starting to show. Recently someone spray painted the word “Fix” around the potholes.

Ben Nelson has lived off the road for nearly a year and said the potholes are more than just annoying.

“The fear is a big factor, something is gonna happen," he said. “I’m doing the speed limit or less because of those holes and then there will be a car in my lane coming 55 m.p.h. and all of a sudden he’ll come around the curve because they are trying to avoid the potholes too, it’s pretty scary,” Nelson said.

Nelson rides a motorcycle and said he’s had to swerve off the road into the grass to avoid getting hit.

Only three accidents have happened on the road since 2017, according to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

But Nelson said the potential for more is increased by the condition on the road.

For the past two years, Dunfee has tried to get answers but nothing is getting done.

“We’re just neglected, looked over. They don’t care. They collect our taxes, they increase our taxes," Dunfee said. "They’ll increase the gas tax so they’ll fix our roads but nothing gets done. They just don’t care. They just forget about us.”

The road falls under the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) control.

It is one of nearly 50 roads in Horry County scheduled to be repaired with money from the state’s gas tax.

Since July 2017, more than $650 million has been collected from the pump, but as of the end of May 2019, Horry County has seen no completed reconstruction or resurfacing projects, according to SCDOT records.

Records do show $63 million has been spent on construction in Horry County but none of those projects have been completed.

Florence and Georgetown counties also haven’t had any completed projects. In fact, 12 of the state’s 46 counties are reported to have $0 of completed projects funded by the gas tax so far.

SCDOT did not return WMBF calls and emails questioning how funds from the gas tax are allocated.

Tony Cox, the SCDOT Commission Chairman, said the state uses a series of matrices and staff presentations to determine which roads to include in its Consolidated Pavement Improvement and Preservation program. Cox said the program aims to put more objectivity in the process of determining which roads need the most attention.

The state allocated $14.6 million for Horry County for 2020 projects, according to Cox who said this is the most a county received. The state set aside a total of $473 million for improvements across South Carolina.

Log Cabin Road is included on a contract along with a dozen other roads to be completed in Horry and Georgetown counties. The contract was awarded earlier this year and has a target completion date of June 2021.

An SCDOT employee who oversees Log Cabin Road said the contract doesn’t have a start date but told WMBF he would speak to the contractor about the severity of Log Cabin Road and try to get it moved to the top of the list.

So for now, residents stay in limbo - waiting and hoping.

“Hope it gets fixed soon before somebody gets killed," Dunfee said.

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