Dillon family says the state, DOT are killing their small business
Dillon, S.C. (WPDE) —
Sharon and Butch Hinson say construction of a new bridge on Highway 301 in Dillon County is ruining their business, Butch's Mini Mart.
The Hinsons say, back on Dec. 3, the S.C. Department of Transportation put up concrete barriers that block access to their store off of Highway 301.
Now, you have to get on Country Club Road then turn on Kentyre Road to get to the store.
The family said they've owned the store for more than 25 years, but now their business is down 75 percent since concrete barriers went up last month.
"We panicked, of course. We had to lay off all six employees that we had. This was at Christmas time. This was very bad for them and very bad for us," said Sharon Hinson.
"I have sit around as long as two hours and not see a soul. You worry about paying your bills. You know because the light bill keeps coming. The water bill keeps coming. Everything keeps coming right on and the state like I said they don't care. They should've done something different before they ever done this. They could've put an access into start with, but they didn't," said Butch Hinson.
The Hinsons said they were initially told an access road would be created to get to their store, but it hasn't.
The couple said they're now each working 12-hour shifts, six days a week.
"It's heartbreaking, you know, after you work for something for 25 years. And then you find yourself in the same position you were when you started. Except, you're not 20 years old anymore. And that's, that's hard. We can't do it like we did before," explained Sharon Hicks.
ABC15 News' Tonya Brown called the S.C. Department of Transportation to get answers for the Hinsons.
Pee Dee District Construction Engineer David Johnson said he sympathizes with the Hinsons, but they had to put up the concrete barriers for a number of reasons.
Johnson said the pavement grade on the new bridge is different from that on the old bridge and the barriers will ensure safety when going from the new to the old until construction if finished.
He said they had to remove contaminated soil around the bridge and that takes time. Johnson said the dirt has to be taken to a special landfill to be disposed.
Johnson added the barriers were also needed to shift traffic.
He said they hope to remove the barriers within two weeks, but could be longer due to weather delays.
The Hinsons said they'll try to hold out until then.