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'We don't have an option': Mauldin residents voice concerns over latest Butler Road plans

Greenville News logo Greenville News 11/21/2021 Caitlin Herrington, Greenville News

Mauldin residents got their first look at the latest rendering of Butler Road's future on Thursday night, though not everybody is happy with the changes.

Council voted unanimously in February to support a compromise option to keep traffic flowing near Old Mill and Bethel Roads. The first two options required tearing down dozens of housing units and the third only lists seven potential relocations.

While the first two options would have created a four-way intersection, the current plan has two traffic lights about 1,200 feet away from one another. Some changes to right of way and draining were made based on public input, and more may be made after the current comment period closes on Dec. 10.

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"With the restrictions on the federal funds and the new standards they’ve got to meet, we’re really locked out of getting what we wanted – which was the straight-through option. To us, that’s the fix," Mayor Terry Merritt said at the public information meeting. "If the lights stay synced up, I think this will work."

More: Mauldin residents grapple with potential impacts from proposed East Butler Rd plan

One of the properties belongs to sisters Bobbie Pope and Cathy Raines. It's the house they grew up in and the one they see from the windows of their own homes now.

"That house has been there since 1947," Pope said standing over an 8-foot printout of the plan Thursday night. "They took land from Mama and Daddy twice to widen the road and add a sidewalk, and now they want to take her house and land and everything."

Initial plans left the house, used as a rental property, with only 4 feet of front yard. Not ideal, they said, but they could manage with that.

"The way they’re saying, we don’t have an option: They’ll tear it down or move it. I mean, how cold can you get?" Raines challenged. "Daddy loved that place and we love that place. It’s just heart-breaking."

A planted median has appeared near their driveways that limits Raines' ability to easily turn onto Butler Road, but those minor changes can be made more easily than removing or razing the home where the sisters grew up.

What to know: The East Butler Road improvement plan in Mauldin

SCDOT is working to create an entry to the city that fits with the vision of the council but accommodates growth, Merritt said. Part of that involved widened medians with greenspace.

"We’ve worked with them to keep the entrance to our city somewhat quaint," he said. "This isn't set in stone and I still don’t totally like it, but we can’t wait another 14 years and start all over."

SCDOT anticipates finalizing right-of-way designs in July of next year and having construction plans in July of 2023. Construction is expected to start in 2024 and be complete in 2026.

Improvement impacts:

  • 10 acres of right of way
  • 7 possible relocations
  • 382 feet of stream impact
  • 0.10 acres of wetland
  • 1.8 acres of floodplain
  • 5 hazardous materials sites
  • 1 cultural resource

The official comment period is Nov. 10 to Dec. 10. Comments can be mailed to Casey Luas, SCDOT, at 955 Park St., P.O. Box 191, Columbia, SC 29201 or emailed to ButlerRoad@scdot.org. More information is available at buildabetterbutler.com.

— Caitlin Herrington, local reporter and lover of alliteration, covers government and growth in the Golden Strip. Get in touch with her at cherrington@greenvillenews.com, support her work by subscribing and follow her on Twitter @GVLnewsCat.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: 'We don't have an option': Mauldin residents voice concerns over latest Butler Road plans

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