By Michal Higdon | September 29, 2020 at 6:31 AM EDT - Updated September 29 at 7:44 AM
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will close public comments after Tuesday on a new $220 million Walmart distribution center planned in Dorchester County.
The new facility will go up in the Ridgeville Industrial Campus off of Highway 78. Once completed, the new storage and cross-dock facility will span nearly three million square feet which, in comparison, is about 52 football fields.
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Dorchester County Director of Economic Development John Truluck says this type of development is huge for the county’s tax base and for folks looking for jobs after this pandemic. Walmart says this new center will create more than 1,000 full-time jobs and the goal is to hire locally.
“Any of those folks who may be working in other industries that were more severely impacted, it’s a good time to change careers to get into something a little more stable with maybe a little higher pay and maybe better benefits than what they were doing before,” Truluck says. "Anytime you can get people better jobs than what they have is a big deal.
With this new development, though, comes the question about traffic in the area.
Officials say there are multiple projects already in the works including widening Highway 78. They’re also planning to widen Highway 27. The South Carolina Department of Transportation plans to widen I-26 from Jedburg to Ridgeville.
“We feel like we’ve done a lot and will continue to do a lot to make sure the traffic is not impacting locals,” Truluck says. “But this facility is so close to the interstate, most of that traffic will be getting on the interstate and heading west.”
Truluck said land clearing could begin as early as November. The distribution center should be up and running in early 2022.
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