Residents who live near Scott Boulevard told KRCG 13 Sunday that street??s closing has tripled their commute time.
Scott Lapsley said he normally takes Scott Boulevard to work. Since the road closed on March 3, he has had to take Forum Boulevard to Chapel Hill Road, which he said gives him a roughly half-hour commute even if there is no traffic. He said he is still getting used to the road being closed and sometimes has to turn around, something KRCG 13 saw several drivers doing late Sunday afternoon.
Nathan Olsen said the closure has turned a 10-minute commute for him into a 30-minute commute. That means it now takes him longer to drive to work than it does to walk. He noted he at least gets some more exercise by walking.
The closure is part of the second phase of Columbia??s ongoing Scott Blvd renovation project. The road is closed from just south of Bellview Drive to the Hinkson Creek while crews replace the bridge over the creek and raise the road bed by nine feet. The city says this will reduce damage from flooding. Crews are also installing a roundabout at the intersection of Scott and Vawter School Road and adding accesses to the MKT trail.
People who live near the construction say they can see why it is needed but that does little to ease their frustrations. Lynsie Steinley said she, too, needs to allow an extra 10-15 minutes if she wants to go anywhere on the west side of town.
??I think that six months is a long time for the road to be closed, but if it makes the road less likely to flood, I think that??s a good thing,?? she said.
Olsen and Lapsley had similar opinions. Olsen said he saw Scott Boulevard flood two years ago and noted the road could wash away if it happens too often. Lapsley also said the road could use better flood protection but added the city should go ahead and make the road four lanes all the way past Vawter School Road.
The city hopes to reopen Scott Boulevard by Aug. 8. In the meantime, engineers recommend commuters use Forum Boulevard as a detour. Steinley, Olsen and Lapsley all told KRCG 13 they have found that is the best option.