Residents worried new Wal-Mart will create traffic headaches

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- Dorchester County leaders say a new kind of Wal-Mart store will soon be built at a busy intersection near Summerville.

It's smaller than the massive supercenters and the first of its kind in the Lowcountry, but residents are worried about its affect on traffic.

"It's a congested area. There's already lots of traffic issues getting people through as it is," said Frank Sosnowski who lives near the busy intersection of Bacons Bridge and Dorchester roads.

He worries that a new Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market planned for that area will add more traffic congestion.

"I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart. But it's more that it's going to be a large store that's going to take up a large amount of property and bring a lot of -- a lot more people in and lot more cars and trucks into the area," said Sosnowski.

But council members say the traffic problems will be handled. The road has is already undergoing an expansion.

"Yeah, there's going to be a lot of traffic. But it's going to be handled. Instead of two lanes, It's going to be five lanes both roads," said Dorchester County Councilman Larry Hargett.

He believes the current road expansion projects in that area are designed to fix major traffic delays. He says location and necessity were the reasons county leaders allowed the project.

"We were going to permit a grocery store across the river at [Highways] 61 and 165. We didn't like that. Nobody really liked that idea. But where it's going now on Dorchester and Bacons Bridge, that's a good place for a grocery store," said Hargett.

He added construction on Dorchester Road to 17-A should be completed by the end of September.

Still, neighbors like Frank Sosnowski believe a new store will hurt the road improvements.

"I think that the, the entire area is just too congested. And it's going to bring more traffic into an already congested area than what's really necessary," said Sosnowski.

Hargett says the project is on the fast track. He expects ground to be broken in 60 to 90 days.

Also, Wal-Mart will pay its share of a transportation impact fee that will go toward road and infrastructure improvements in Dorchester County.

The new market will cover 42,000 square feet. A Murphy USA gas station is included in the project.