Originally created 02/27/06

Connector road data brings plans to halt



AIKEN - Some questionable numbers temporarily derailed progress last week on the study of a traffic-easing connector road for the Whiskey/Pine Log/Powderhouse roads triangle on the city's commercial south side.

The committee that's been working on the issue since last summer had hoped during a Thursday meeting to approve the data supplied by Day Wilburn Associates of Atlanta, giving the green light for the consultants to prepare a final report draft of their findings.

Once the draft is issued, the public will again have a chance to weigh in on which of seven new road alternatives, or none, they would prefer. The public last saw preliminary maps in June.

Since then, consultants have, at the direction of the committee, gathered additional traffic, environmental and other data and re-evaluated the alternatives, using the committee's weighting criteria as applied to three theoretical development projections.

All that calculating will result in an overall ranking for each proposed road alternative.

But committee members reviewing data numbers noticed some that didn't look quite right. Additionally, accident data acquired by the consultants didn't match the numbers a committee member had received.

"Nobody knew what sheet to be on because there were like 50 million renditions of it," said Stephen Strohminger, a transportation planner for the Aiken County Planning & Development Department.

Day Wilburn will have two weeks to clean up the numbers before the committee meets again March 6, hopefully then approving the data and giving the go-ahead for writing of the final draft. Mr. Strohminger said that task should take about two weeks more.

After that, maps of the proposed roads will be posted on the city's and county's Web sites and displayed at their respective facilities for about a month, he said. During that time, the public will be asked to comment on the proposals, and then a final report will be issued.

The consultants have also produced cost estimates for construction of each of the seven road alternatives, ranging from $5.6 million to $8.3 million. A time table for construction, and funding sources for the project, have yet to be determined.

Reach J.C. Lexow at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or jc.lexow@augustachronicle.com.