South Carolina might want to give Main St. to Fort Mill, but it’s a long, winding road

Cars parked along Main Street in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Main Street in Fort Mill. The town has asked the state for contreol of the road, which is considered part of S.C. 160.

FORT MILL — Turning Main Street in Fort Mill into a one-way road might be a bit of a Catch-22, even if all the decision makers are on-board with the idea.

Main Street is considered part of S.C. 160 and thus is part of the state roads system. The Town of Fort Mill has asked the S.C. Dept. of Transportation to, in essence, give Main Street to the town. But it’s not that easy, even if the state wants to grant the request, according to one official.

“Yes, the request has been made as part of a pilot ‘Road Turnback’ Program, to remove SC 160 through downtown Fort Mill,” Vic Edwards, an SCDOT engineer for District 4 wrote in an email.

“That list of roads submitted by all municipalities in the state is currently under review to gauge interest and fiscal feasibility. As this is a pilot program, it is still under development and nothing as of this time to my knowledge has been finalized.”

However, Edwards followed up by explaining that “Main Street, Fort Mill is a Primary Roadway (SC 160) and as such can’t be removed from the DOT system.”

There is one possible solution: “Primaries can be relocated, (thus opening the possibility of removal of the road from the system that they are relocated from) but it is a much more involved process,” Edwards wrote.

Fort Mill Mayor Guynn Savage recently discussed the continued revitalization of the downtown area and how the reconfiguration Main Street could possibly be a part of future plans.

“Maintaining and encouraging the wonderful vitality that we are experiencing in downtown is second only to safety,” Savage said. “Reviewing the Main Street corridor is very important for both of those reasons.” 

If the state agrees to re-route 160 and turn Main Street over to the town, Savage wouldn’t be alone in looking at Main as a potentially one-way road.

“I think making it one-way would be a great advantage to the town and continue the growth of the new businesses on Main that we’ve had,” Councilman James Shirey said.

“With all the increased foot traffic and driving traffic, by turning it into a one-way, we can limit the chances of an accident. By taking Main Street under the town’s care and turning it into a one-way, we would be able to expand the sidewalks, offering the businesses outdoor seating, which is not allowed under a DOT-controlled road.”

Shirey also said the town would be able to have more latitude with its beautification efforts if it took control of Main Street.