Safety improvements coming for deadly intersection

The intersection at West Old Camden Road and New Market Road in Hartsville will be getting 2 new stop signs by July 9 to help stop dangerous accidents from taking place there.

The intersection at West Old Camden Road and New Market Road in Hartsville, the scene of five serious accidents that killed two in recent years, is getting safety improvements that residents and officials hope will stop dangerous accidents from happening there.

By July 9, the intersection will be a four-way stop, according to Dennis Townsend with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).

Townsend said there have been five serious accidents resulting in two deaths at the intersection in the past four years.

Two weeks ago, two men were killed in a car accident at the intersection.

Townsend said a recent study found it best to install two more stop signs at the intersection due to the volume of traffic and the number of deadly wrecks.

He said they thought a four-way stop would be "the safest for the intersection."

Donna and Kevin Kavanagh's 17-year-old son and his 14-year-old friend died in a two car accident at the intersection in 2000.

The Kavanagh's have rallied for safety improvements at the intersection for years.

"This intersection is a fatality looking for a time to happen. We're already have the place for it to happen. We're just looking for the time. This isn't so much about my son or the people that died in this last accident. This is about the lives that we can save," said Donna Kavanagh.

Donna Kavanagh recently started a Facebook page for a safer intersection and it has nearly 2,500 members.

She also lobbied members of the Hartsville Legislative Delegation and SCDOT.

"There are a lot of people in Hartsville and in the surrounding area who have to use this road, that, you know, that want this intersection changed and made safer," said Kavanagh.

The Kavanagh's are pleased that four-way stop signs are going up. They just hope it's the answer that prevents another death like the one their family suffered.

"We're not going away and we're gonna do what we can do. We realize that no matter what they do, there can still be accident. Accidents happen. What we'd like to see happen is change that fatal accident into a fender bender. And never ever have to have another helicopter at this intersection because somebody needs medical assistance that badly," she said.

The additional stop signs are expected to be up by July 9.

Transportation officials say if the stop signs don't curtail serious accidents, they would look at installing a caution light at the intersection.