The Town of Hilton Head Island has put the brakes on plans to improve the intersection of Arrow and Target roads because of concerns from nearby property owners.
Town manager Steve Riley requested a reassessment of the project, which would straighten a curve in the intersection by moving it north to town-owned land. Other ideas include building a traffic circle, and cutting trees to improve drivers' visibility.
"It seems there's general agreement the conditions out there warrant some type of improvements," Scott Liggett, town director of public projects, said. "What the nature and extent of those ought to be, and which generates the greatest value to the area, is the question."
Some, such as Dudley King, president of Plantation Interiors on Target Road, say plans unveiled by the town last month do not go far enough to improve safety and traffic flow.
King said he would prefer a roundabout, which the town's staff initially proposed. However, it later opted for a lower-cost approach in the hopes that it could free tax-increment financing revenue, which would pay for the project, for redeveloping the Coligny Beach area, Liggett said.
A roundabout would cost $800,000 to $1 million, compared with $578,000 to move the intersection to town land, Liggett said.
Town traffic engineer Darrin Shoemaker said the intersection's "severe" curves confuse motorists as to who has the right of way and make it difficult for drivers to spot oncoming traffic.
Although there haven't been many reported accidents at the intersection -- six since 2008 -- Shoemaker said there have been many "near misses."
He said a yield sign and right-turn lane on Target Road should reduce confusion and delays and encourage drivers to use Arrow Road as an alternative route to Palmetto Bay Road and William Hilton Parkway, easing congestion at Sea Pines Circle.
Liggett said engineers also are studying whether removing trees north of the intersection to improve motorists' visibility would be enough to make the intersection safer.
"Turning left from Arrow onto Target, it's difficult to sneak a peak around the trees there," he said. "It's also difficult for oncoming traffic to detect vehicles turning ahead of them."
Removing trees would be the lowest-cost option by far, Liggett said, but he did not have a cost estimate.
There's also concern a roundabout would not function as intended because of the intersection's skewed angles, Liggett said.
King, however, says a roundabout recently built by the town at nearby Arrow Road and Dunnagans Alley has alleviated congestion and wants the same for Target and Arrow roads.
"It would slow traffic down, making the intersection safer, and get traffic moving better," he said. "I also think a roundabout would do more to increase property values and make the area look better."
Some say reconstructing the intersection is unnecessary.
Charles Howell, owner of the Chase Center, said straightening the curve in the road as originally planned would make the intersection safer, but questions whether it's worth the money.
"I have never seen an accident there," he said, "and I don't think it's a problem."
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.