Dangerous West Cola crosswalk to receive major upgrade

More than 2,000 state employees live in Lexington County. Many of them take Sunset Boulevard – or US 378 – through West Columbia to work in Columbia.

One of the most pedestrian-heavy areas of Sunset is at the House of Raeford poultry processing plant, near Meeting Street. The plant employs hundreds, and workers must cross the street to get to their jobs. The plant is one of the county’s largest employers and both pedestrian and vehicle traffic is heavy and dangerous at times.

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hawk1Because of the congestion, management at House of Raeford along with the City of West Columbia have proposed a HAWK pedestrian crosswalk. HAWK stands for High-Intensity Activated crossWalK beacon.

In August, West Columbia City Council voted to accept $45,000 in “C” Funds from Lexington County that authorizes the City Administrator to negotiate a contract agreement with House of Raeford for installation of the HAWK crosswalk. The move also authorizes the city to manage the crosswalk.

The City of West Columbia administrative staff opened bids on Dec. 19, from contractors submitting proposals to build the crosswalk on Sunset Boulevard. The plan is to put the crosswalk at Capitol Square, across from House of Raeford’s poultry processing plant.

J. Moore Electrical submitted the lowest bid of $78,000. There was a high bid of $113,434 and another bid of $93,052. West Columbia City Council will have to approve a contract before construction to begin. Approval could come as early as council’s next scheduled meeting in January.

“A crosswalk at the point of entrance is an effort to make it safer,” said Chuck Underhill, House of Raeford’s assistant sales manager. “We also want to make it more convenient for motorists driving through.”

West Columbia spokesperson Anna Huffman said the HAWK signal is being engineered by Kimley Horn Engineering Firm. West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton and City Council Members Dale Harley and Casey Hallman have expressed their support of the effort by House of Raeford to implement the HAWK crosswalk.

Underhill said House of Raeford is looking forward to its positive impact on safety and on traffic flow on Sunset Boulevard.

Categories: Business, Hometown, Lexington County, Local News, West Columbia