Woodruff Road expansion could hinder response times

FIVE FORKS, S.C. (WSPA) – For years, the DOT has talked about expanding Woodruff Road in the Five Forks area; however, that expansion has the possibility to put families at risk by taking property away from the Clear Springs Fire Department.

The Clear Springs Fire Commissioners Board held a public meeting Tuesday evening to address their concerns with the DOT.

The DOT wants to put a retention pond on the property adjacent to where the Clear Springs Firehouse stands. Representatives said one of the biggest issues with the expansion is drainage, so the pond would fix that.

The property belongs to the fire department, and the board voted in January to build a new building on that property because they said the old firehouse was getting too small.

“It’s giving us not a good way to get around town,” said Bob Huslinger, the Clear Springs Fire Commissioners Board Chairman. Woodruff Road is a very busy road and it’s going to get even busier once all these lanes come in.

The Board said the construction will cut off part of the driveway to the firehouse, and fire trucks will be pulling straight into traffic, so getting out of the firehouse is their biggest concern.

The Board Chair also said if the DOT continues with the project on their land, it could affect response times.

At the meeting, the DOT asked the board for a letter in writing saying they didn’t want to sell the property, but the fear is even if they say they don’t want to sell, they may be forced to later. However, the DOT said their objective is not to take away a firehouse.

The board said they have started looking at other options. One of those is building a new firehouse behind the old one on Dusty Lane. However, the board chair said that could potentially add minutes onto a call, and it would cost more money.

“We have to clear property, knock down a house, it’s money that’s going to have to be spent to do all this, and unfortunately it comes out of tax payers money,” Huslinger said.

The DOT representative said he was going to suggest to his co-workers to start looking at alternatives for their retention pond.

The DOT said they wanted to start accepting bids for the project in February and start construction from there. The entire project could take a year to a year and a half.

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