Thirty-three people attended a public meeting to discuss the federally funded “roundabout” – a.k.a., traffic circle or rotary – planned for the intersection of U.S. 76 and S-72 (Trinity Church/Dial Place Road) northwest of Laurens.

Almost half represented the S.C. Department of Transportation and AECOM (Architecture/Emergency/Construction/Operation/Management), the corporation charged with its construction in the winter of 2019-20.

To all appearances, the 19 local citizens who attended were there to oppose the project.

One interested party was David McCall, who will lose part of his property to the project. The intersection, presently the site of a four-way stop, will result in construction that will divert a section of the road to the east. The displaced pavement will be dug up and planted in grass.

McCall said the four-way stop sign at the intersection remedied the safety concerns.

“This is absolutely unneeded,” he said.

A release distributed by the DOT called the project “an important safety project to help reduce the frequency and severity of crashes occurring at this location. Recent safety analysis indicates a pattern of right-angle collisions occurring at the intersection. High speeds combined with failure to yield right of way and disregard of traffic control are factors that may have contribute to the crashes.”

The most common criticism of those attending was a belief that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money that would better be spent on other projects.

The intersection was selected for improvement through the Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program, which uses a data-driven strategic approach to identify locations throughout the state with high crash rates or patterns and implements safety enhancements through infrastructure-related improvements.