Road crews coat Bluffton area with projects; work stays on schedule

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Road crews coat Bluffton area with projects; work stays on schedule

By ROB WILE rwile@islandpacket.com 843-706-8138
Published Wednesday, May 5, 2010   |  414 Words  |  news/local

Three major road improvement projects under way in Beaufort County are on schedule and more work is expected to begin soon, according to state and county transportation officials.
The projects include:

  • Widening S.C. 46 to five lanes between U.S. 278 and south of the Bluffton Parkway. Road crews are scheduled to work continuously through December, said John Boylston, state program manager for the S.C. Department of Transportation. The fifth lane will be a turning lane, he said.
  • Widening Simmonsville Road to four lanes between U.S. 278 and Bluffton Parkway. This project also should be completed by December, according to Rob McFee, deputy administrator of development and public services for Beaufort County.
  • Widening Simmonsville Road to three lanes from Bluffton Parkway to the new Bluffton Middle School on Hyon Road. Sidewalks also will be added. The project is expected to be finished before the start of the 2010-11 school year in August, according to the site construction manager, Jay Lee of Thompson Turner Construction.
    As these road projects near completion, more work is planned for the area.
    This fall, workers are scheduled to begin widening U.S. 278 to six lanes from Simmonsville Road to S.C. 170, Boylston said.
    And the county will begin taking bids in August to widen S.C. 170 from S.C. 46 to north of U.S. 278, McFee said. The road will have four lanes south of U.S. 278 and six lanes north of U.S. 278.
    The S.C. 170 and U.S. 278 projects are part of 10 road improvements approved by county voters in 2006 when they voted for a 1 percent sales tax to help fund them.
    The road work is affecting traffic in some places. The main entrance to Lowcountry Presbyterian Church on Simmonsville Road, for example, has been disrupted by the construction. But the Rev. Jerry Kramer, pastor of the church, said he can live with the temporary problem because once the work is done, access for parishioners will be improved.
    However, he said he was unsure how traffic would flow as parishioners exited east onto Pennington Drive, because there is no traffic light at that intersection with Simmonsville Road.
    Brent Rewis, a DOT program manager, said there are no plans to install a traffic light at that intersection.
    Boylston said that going forward, the only thing that could hinder area work crews is weather.
    Otherwise, he said, "they'll be working the whole time."