Beaufort County close to approving new U.S. 278 traffic light in Okatie

$600K project also includes construction of a 'frontage road' into Island West neighborhood

cconley@islandpacket.comMay 16, 2013 

Beaufort County is close to approving a new traffic light on U.S. 278 in Okatie.

A County Council subcommittee endorsed a $600,000 project Monday that includes a traffic light at the intersection of Hampton Parkway and U.S. 278. The project also calls for construction of a road linking Island West with the intersection.

Jim Cuff, head of the Island West Property Owner's Association, said the neighborhood has been seeking a safer way to cross U.S. 278 for almost a decade.

"We are pleased they are moving ahead," he said. "This is the best solution to get a connector to a light at 278 right now."

Island West is contributing $100,000 toward the connector, and supermarket chain Harris Teeter is chipping in $100,000 for the traffic light, according to county spokeswoman Joy Nelson. The remaining $400,000 will come from the county's 1-percent transportation sales-tax fund.

Harris Teeter had planned to build a store in the area and had committed to providing the money. Plans for the store are now uncertain.

The new Hampton Parkway would meet U.S. 278 just west of Stokes Brown Toyota. The connector road to Island West would start at the U.S. 278-Hampton Parkway intersection.

From U.S. 278, Hampton Parkway would be extended a few hundred feet, linking it with Toyota Drive, which runs behind the car dealership. From there, the connector would meet with Island West Park, a road that offers access to the new Enmark Station and Goodwill.

At the end of Island West Park, the county would build a road that offers access into the Island West neighborhood. Cuff said this future side entrance would be gated.

County Council could approve the project Monday.

Councilwoman Cynthia Bensch said the work is expected to be done in December, soon after the U.S. 278 widening is completed.

"Hopefully we can correct this dangerous situation in that allotted time," she said.

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