ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The most popular route for a new bridge over the Catawba River appears to cut through land owned by a 76-year-old who hoped to leave that land for his kids.
“It would devastate us,” said property owner Bill Branche. “We’re a strong family unit and we’d survive.”
His property off Mount Gallant Road in Rock Hill appears to have a red line going through it on a map from the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Transportation Study showing the route.
Three other routes are also outlined on that map, but are not the preferred location.
Planners say the route near Branche’s land is the shortest, the second least expensive and has the fewest human and natural impacts.
Branche says that’s except for the life he built there.
"I was born in the front room of that house. My grandparents died in that house,” he said.
Branch said if built there, it would impact the serene lifestyle his family craves.
“You’d hear road noise. I’ve been so fortunate to enjoy this for so many years. I wanted to hand this to my children,” he added.
Planners said a new bridge is needed to help connect Rock Hill and Fort Mill, plus reduce congestion on nearby roads as well as Interstate 77.
The other side of that bridge would end up off Sutton Road in Fort Mill near I-77. Neighbors say it is needed for relief and connectivity.
"I think it would be good, just the fact there there's a lot of traffic here, rush hour, and the city is growing,” said Mike Volk, who works at BBS Auto Sales on Sutton Road. "I think it would save time getting home."
A decision on the route isn’t expected to be made until summer. Planners say the current lines on the map are subject to change.
If approved, the federal government would begin extensive reviews and testing.
Construction wouldn’t begin for at least five years, planners said.