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State transportation officials are reviewing bids to widen U.S. 278 from Simmonsville Road to S.C. 170; construction could begin by late October.
The two-year project, which will widen a 5-mile stretch of the thoroughfare from four lanes to six, is expected to wrap up November 2013, according to S.C. Department of Transportation documents.
Beaufort County engineering and infrastructure director Rob McFee said that because U.S. 278 serves so much traffic, construction crews probably will not shut down lanes during the day.
"There will be lane closures, but they'll be nighttime lane closures," McFee said.
The project also includes construction of a concrete wall between 3 and 5 feet tall in the median from Hampton Parkway to S.C. 170.
Attempts Friday to reach DOT staff members for comment were unsuccessful, but they have said in the past that the barrier is needed for safety.
The wall drew brief attention in 2009 when the county asked the state to consider alternatives. Some said it would mar the gateway to Hilton Head Island.
Plans still include the barrier, but it has been spruced up.
"The DOT has agreed to provide basically an old-brick, custom finish to the wall for it to be more aesthetically pleasing," McFee said.
Bids were opened Aug. 9 and are being reviewed for compliance. According to DOT documents, four companies submitted bids:
The project is being funded with a mix of federal, state and local money.
Because of cash-flow problems, the DOT announced Thursday it would delay about $24 million worth of road projects, but McFee said he has not heard anything about delaying the U.S. 278 work.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.