Shaniah Garrick

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Rock Hill residents can expect the construction project on Cherry Road, between Alumni Drive and Deas Street, to continue until at least the end of November, according to officials.

York County began the work to resurface Cherry Road May 6, in collaboration with the S.C. Department of Transportation, as part of the Pennies for Progress program, which uses a portion of money collected from sales tax for road improvements.

The project is the fourth road construction project in York County this year, called Pennies-4, to be funded by the Pennies for Progress program.

Patrick Hamilton, program manager for Pennies for Progress, said the original plan was to repave Cherry Road, but after hiring a consulting firm it was realized the road was in worse condition than first thought.

“They dig down several feet to see what is there. How much Asphalt is existing? How much stone is underneath the asphalt? What kind of condition is the subgrade in,” said Hamilton. “So they did that in several spots throughout the road and realized there wasn’t a whole lot of pavement structure out here. It’s very poor conditions.”

SCDOT is working closely with Pennies for Progress to complete the work.

“I believe the contractor was hoping to get the bulk of the work done within those summer months, but they’re still having to do some work within the peak (driving) hours,” said Thomas Gaines, SCDOT assistant district construction engineer.

Officials said crews have been working to try to limit the disruption to traffic and commuters during peak driving times, but drivers can expect to see construction on Cherry Road until at least Nov. 30, which is the estimated completion date set by the SCDOT and Pennies for Progress.

That is disappointing news to commuters like Logan McCain, who as a Winthrop student uses Cherry Road regularly.

“I’m…annoyed that I have to go through it. I know it’s going to take time for it to happen, but I wished it could be a faster process,” said McCain.

However, others, such as Rock Hill resident Chyniah Golden, have said it’s important to be patient, because the work will ultimately make the road better.

“It does not bother me,” said Golden. “I mean it is what it is. They are doing construction, that is just life. (Cherry Road) was worse before this.”

The Pennies for Progress program was implemented in 1997 after York County residents voted to approve a one-cent sales tax for road construction. The county was one of the first in the state to approve the program.

Pennies for Progress includes a six-member citizen group, comprised of residents from across York County, which selects the areas where roadwork needs to be done.

Residents have voted every seven years, since 1997, to continue participation in the Pennies for Progress program. For example, the measure passed in 2004 with 72 percent of the vote, 82 percent in 2011 and 78 percent in 2017.

“Since the first one passed it has been overwhelmingly supported by the community. Again citizens are voting to tax themselves, but there is a huge benefit,” said Hamilton.