CONWAY – The College of Coastal Carolina is looking for a means for college kids to cross SC 544 safely after two college students died a number of years in the past making an attempt to cross a busy highway resulting in the seaside.
The CCU is asking for $ 7.5 million at a time from the state finances to construct new sidewalks on 4 lanes. Officers hope the undertaking will present a secure passage for college kids dwelling within the condominium constructing on the opposite facet.
“I don’t intend to speak an excessive amount of about it, however these are the lives of scholars,” CCU President Michael Benson stated whereas calling on lawmakers for funding earlier this month.
CCU spokesman Jerry Rashid stated the college was nonetheless uncertain the place the walkway could be they usually have been working with the SC Division of Transportation for the undertaking. The CCU additionally mentioned safety enhancements with the SC 501 crossing in addition to the SC 544.
“Scholar security is at all times a high precedence for the college,” Rashid stated.
Though there are intersections at SC 544 and Founders Drive, CCU officers stated college students typically cross congested roads in areas with out secure lodging.
“Typically they do not make the perfect selections at night time and you’ll’t see college students at night time,” Benson stated.
Mr Benson stated the unsafe crossings left two college students hit by a automotive and killed years earlier than a 3rd pupil was injured and in vital situation whereas crossing earlier this month. A lot of college students virtually hit.
The college declined to call the three college students or particular concerning the incident, citing privateness rules.
The finances has not but been put aside for the walkway, and the CCU plans to fund it by different sources if the state doesn’t embody it on this 12 months’s finances.
Benson stated the CCU had beforehand requested for federal funding for the undertaking, however these proposals by no means made it out of the committee. The walkway undertaking was first proposed in 2021, and discussions on security enhancements on SC 544 have been occurring since round 2016.
Over time, the CCU has thought of different choices to assist stop student-related accidents, akin to slowing down on the SC 544 close to campus. Set up flashing yellow lights to warn drivers about pedestrian visitors. And reasonable to cease pedestrians from crossing undefined highways.
The CCU has begun conducting a feasibility research on the central idea, based on college officers.
Mr Benson stated the CCU was additionally contemplating constructing partitions on the sidewalk to make sure college students don’t cross off unsafe roads. Nevertheless, he stated college students might nonetheless climb the wall, which is why the college needed to construct a walkway throughout the boulevard.
The difficulty of enhancing pupil security arose when CCU welcomed the biggest new classroom in its historical past for the second 12 months in a row with 3,459 college students final fall. Preliminary registration for the autumn semester of 2022 has a complete of 10,373 college students.
Observe Nicole Ziege on Twitter @NicoleZiege.