Main Street smoothed by private owner, hopes town will take over soon

bheffernan@islandpacket.comDecember 24, 2012 

Main Street Realty, which owns the western half of Hilton Head Island's Main Street as seen here Wednesday evening, has asked the town to take over its portion of the road. The town's engineering staff recommended the town accept the road but only if immediate maintenance repairs are made.

BRIAN HEFFERNAN / STAFF PHOTO

With fewer potholes, the western stretch of Hilton Head Island's Main Street is becoming more like its well-maintained eastern stretch.

"I did notice that a major (pothole) was fixed yesterday," said Pastor Lawrence Eckart of Island Lutheran Church on the corner of Main Street and Wilborn Road. "I was pleasantly surprised. It was hard to avoid it without running into other cars."

The road still has some problems, though.

Sarah Daughety, who works the front desk at the Quality Inn & Suites, said she has "heard people complaining about (Main Street) for a while."

"It's a horrible road," she said.

Darrin Shoemaker, Hilton Head's traffic engineer, acknowledged the road's problems are "profound." The pavement is in poor condition, the curbs are cracked and broken, the drainage system is clogged, and traffic signs and markings aren't uniform, he said.

The pothole repairs are the first improvements to the 2,000-foot-long western stretch between Wilborn Road and the roundabout at Whooping Crane Way, but others might take longer.

Main Street Commercial Property Owners Association, which owns the western stretch, asked the town on May 1 to take over that portion and its four connecting streets.

The town's engineering staff recommended that the town accept the roads on two conditions: The owners pay $107,000 for repairs and the town makes sure it can pay $44,000 for annual maintenance.

The engineers also said the roads would also need $1.65 million over the next five years for resurfacing and new sidewalks.

Attempts to reach Main Street Realty owner David Staley for comment were unsuccessful.

At its planning retreat earlier this month, Hilton Head Town Council members said writing a new town policy for taking over private roads would be a high priority in 2013.

"I would not expect us to have the Main Street issue revisited until a policy is created," said Scott Liggett, the town's director of public projects and facilities.

The town already owns the eastern stretch of Main Street, between the roundabout and Hospital Center Boulevard.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian.

Related content:

Letter to the editor: Make it safe for children to walk along Main Street, March 25, 2012

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