The Daily Gamecock

Updating roads, infrastructure needs to be a top priority for South Carolina

Lawmakers, citizens cannot take backbone of daily life for granted

There’s a lot of good that can be said about living in South Carolina. There is the low cost of living, easy access to a wide variety of breathtaking scenery and the privilege of having neighbors who are practically world-renown for their friendliness. We are, after all, the state of smiling faces and beautiful places. But despite all the things that make our state great, the one thing we drive on every day and typically take for granted could end up being our ultimate undoing.

Infrastructure, such as buildings or roads, are the backbone of any community. They serve a vital role by connecting neighborhood to neighborhood and providing an essential services that enable us to go about our everyday lives. Without constant upkeep of these important networks, they can easily fall into a state of disrepair and make life harder for us all. Could you imagine how difficult it would be to get anything done, let alone conduct business or fulfill personal endeavors, if every trip we had to take was like an expedition out into the wilderness? In South Carolina, it’s not completely far-fetched to say that we aren’t inching ever so closely to that becoming our every day reality.

When driving in South Carolina, motorists have to be instinctively aware of numerous potholes, which roads are for all intents and purposes “death traps” and the roads they should avoid during rain lest drive through a temporary roaring river.

Hyperbolic as these statements might sound, it’s hard to ignore the facts about the sorry state of our roads. According to a recent study by the American Society of Civil Engineers, 40 percent of South Carolinian roads are in either poor or mediocre condition, 12.3 percent of the state’s bridges are considered either structurally deficient while a whopping 9.1 percent are considered to be functionally obsolete. It’s no wonder why some have declared the condition of our states’ roads worse than those seen in a war zone and are right on track to becoming similar to those of the third-world.

Our state has the sixth highest highway fatality rate in the nation. The average South Carolina driver already pays an extra $255 per year due to extra vehicle repairs and operating costs and who knows how much higher these costs could go. Due to our neglect, this is the price we have paid, and will continue to pay even more severely if we don’t take swift and immediate action.

On the bright side, it should be comforting to know that we won’t have to go through this process of updating our road infrastructure alone; South Carolina isn’t the only state that will need to deal with these and other important issues. With the combined efforts of our fellow citizens, we will hopefully find the best way to bring our road infrastructure forward into the 21st century where it belongs and keep it there.