Strikehouse Bowl owner files counter lawsuit against City of Aiken over Dougherty Road intersection

Improvements to Aiken's most dangerous intersection comes at a cost to a business owner on the road.

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Improvements to Aiken’s most dangerous intersection comes at a cost to a business owner on the road.

Dougherty Road, is one of two connectors, between Silver Bluff Road and Whiskey Road, two of Aiken’s busiest roads.

The City of Aiken want more than 600 square feet of Strikehouse Bowl’s property to add a right turn.

However the owner says they haven’t given her a fair evaluation and she’s fighting the City of Aiken until she gets the compensation she deserves.

Maryanne Budnichuk, the owner of Strikehouse Bowl, has filed a counter condemnation lawsuit against the city.

She is claiming city leaders skipped necessary negotiations to buy some of the property her business currently sits on.

“The land that they are trying to take is going to reduce our parking and potentially impact our revenue,” Budnichuk told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation any road project that requires land to be purchased from an owner goes through a series of steps, including negotiations with the property owner.

Still condemnation is a last resort option.

Budnichuk says the city offered her $3,700 dollars for 624 square feet of her property, but they won’t compensate her for loss of businesses during the construction and in the future.

While she isn’t trying to stop progress, she said her property is in the county and city leaders aren’t considering the impact the road additions will have on the building meeting county safety regulations.

“The road will be about 8 feet from my office there,” Budnichuk said. “I have a fire door that we had to install for fire code compliance purposes which will now be opening almost directly onto traffic.”

Budnichuk says traffic on the highly congested Dougherty Road intersection is not letting up anytime soon, especially since the city approved a 60-unit apartment complex.

She just wants the city would take her request for more compensation seriously or look for alternative ways to improve the intersection.

“I think the answer is some simpler less expensive answer have not been explored,” she said.

The owner says the dispute will go before a judge in January.

This is a statement we received from a spokesperson for the City of Aiken: 

The purpose of the project is to improve the overall safety and operational capacity of the intersection, to better accommodate the existing traffic volumes.

The proposed improvements will include widening Dougherty Road, as it approaches Whiskey Road, to accommodate a left-turn lane and dual right-turn lanes onto Whiskey Road.  Other improvements will include traffic signal upgrades, to accommodate the new turning movements, and the addition of new curb and gutter and sidewalk, along the southwest quadrant of the intersection where the bowling alley is located.

The total project cost is approximately $1.2 Million, based on current estimates, including Preliminary Engineering, Right-of-Way and Construction.

Traffic will be maintained during construction (one lane in each direction), with possible temporary closures and an associated detour route, which will be specified by the Contractor.

As part of the project development process, every effort was made to minimize impacts to the surrounding community and adjacent properties, as much as possible.  Right-of-way impacts to the bowling alley include a small sight triangle at the corner of the property (shown in blue on attached plan sheet).  Additionally, a temporary construction easement will be required, in the form of a narrow strip along Dougherty Road (shown in green on attached plan sheet).  Condemnation proceedings are currently underway with the bowling alley.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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