US 278 widening completed; SC 170 project behind schedule

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comDecember 4, 2013 

As the U.S. 278 widening project in greater Bluffton comes to a close, the S.C. 170 widening is behind schedule.

Permanent pavement markings are the last step in the two-year, $23.6 million U.S. 278 widening and should be completed this week, according to Chris Smith, S.C. Department of Transportation construction engineer.

In the past two weeks, crews have reseeded the highway shoulders for permanent grass and opened all six lanes of the highway from Simmonsville Road to S.C. 170.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the S.C. 170 project has been extended from May to August, according to county director of engineering Rob McFee. The $15 million project will widen S.C. 170 to four lanes from S.C. 46 to U.S. 278.

Utility-line relocation for the project is 94 percent completed, according to McFee.

The county is adding storm drainage to the project, which is part of the reason for the deadline extension, Smith said. That work is underway, McFee said in an email.

McFee said the project's costs are still within budget, "but the (overall) contractor is behind schedule."

Paving should begin in early 2014, McFee said.

A mix of federal, state and county money is paying for the projects. The county's share for both projectscomes from a 1 percent sales tax for transportation projects approved by voters in a 2006 referendum.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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