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Six contractors submitted bids for the $31 million flyover bridge linking Bluffton Parkway to U.S. 278, according to Beaufort County officials, who expect construction to begin this fall.
Flyover bids initially were scheduled to be opened Thursday, but the process was delayed several weeks while local, state and federal officials confirmed the companies are qualified for the job, Rob McFee, county director of engineering and infrastructure, said last week.
"We are going through the packages very carefully," he said, noting that the bids for the overpass project have remained sealed.
The bridges would start at Bluffton Parkway's intersection with Buckingham Plantation Dive and extend over the marsh between The Gatherings and Buckingham Landing. Ramps would tie in to either side of the Fording Island Road extension leading to the foot of the Karl S. Bowers Bridge to Hilton Head Island.
The project has upset some who worry the bridge will become an eyesore. The county asked contractors to be creative in their designs to alleviate those fears, McFee said.
Other road projects are also expected to get under way soon.
Widening S.C. 170 between U.S. 278 and S.C. 46 is slated to begin this fall, while the Bluffton Parkway between Malphrus Road and Buckingham Plantation Drive is expected to open next month.
The widening of U.S. 278 continues on schedule and is expected to be finished by November 2013.
All together, the projects cost nearly $100 million.
S.C. 170 WIDENING
County officials are also reviewing bids from five companies vying for the estimated $25 million project. Bids have already been opened, but the low-bidder has not yet been certified, McFee said.
The project will widen the two-lane stretch between U.S. 278 and S.C. 46 to four lanes. The job is expected to take about two years, McFee said.
BLUFFTON PARKWAY 5A
County officials expect the remaining segment of Bluffton Parkway, from Malphrus Road to Buckingham Plantation Drive, to be ready next month. The first phase of the roughly $11.6 million project, from Burnt Church Road to Malphrus Road, opened in late April.
U.S. 278 WIDENING
Nearly eight months after the widening project began on U.S. 278, construction crews from Savannah-based APAC Southeast are about 25 percent done, said Jared Fralix, assistant resident construction engineer with the S.C. Department of Transportation.
"They are proceeding. They are making progress, and they are moving on to asphalt," he said of the contractors. "They are still on time and moving forward and still working toward the completion date."
The $23 million project will widen the four-lane stretch between Simmonsville Road and S.C. 170 to six lanes.