South Carolina

Road signs bearing name of disgraced ex-SC official are replaced near Columbia airport

The road signs for a Midlands highway that was named for a disgraced former South Carolina official have been removed.

The John Hardee Expressway has been renamed the Columbia Airport Expressway, according to the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Hardee, the former S.C. Department of Transportation board member, was charged with violating his federal probation by trying to hire a prostitute for $40 on Aug. 8, according to The State.

The 72-year-old Columbia resident was previously placed on probation after admitting he tried to destroy evidence in an FBI investigation into whether he accepted bribes as a DOT board member, The State reported.

The John Hardee Expressway outside the Columbia Metropolitan Airport. BRISTOW MARCHANT BMARCHANT@THESTATE.COM

The stretch of road that has been renamed spans from Platt Springs Road to Airport Boulevard, SCDOT tweeted.

The decision to rename the highway near Columbia Metropolitan Airport was made by the SCDOT commission, according to the tweet.

Following Hardee’s arrest, State Sen. Katrina Shealy proposed a bill that would prevent state roads, bridges, buildings and other landmarks from being named after living people, The State reported. Shealy said only people who have been dead more than a year should be eligible for the honor.

Hardee served two stints on the SCDOT board, from 1998-2007, and from 2014-2018. His father-in-law is state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, chairman of the influential Senate Finance Committee.

DOT board members oversee the spending of billions of dollars on state road paving and repairs.

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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.