Road construction underway in downtown Beaufort

emoody@beaufortgazette.comFebruary 3, 2014 

Road construction in downtown Beaufort is getting started with one of several projects on the to-do lists of the city, Beaufort County and the S.C. Department of Transportation.

Work is planned for portions of Charles Street, at its intersection with Boundary Street and between its intersections with Bay and Craven streets. Brief delays and lane closures in the coming months will occur, according to the city.

The city, county and state are collaborating on a $300,000-plus project to install new mast arms for traffic lights and signs on Charles Street. The city's portion is $55,000, according to the release.

Work at the intersection of Charles and Bay streets began Monday and is expected to take about three weeks, city public works director Isiah Smalls said. The right-hand, eastbound lane is temporarily closed on Bay Street, approaching Charles Street.

Walker Bros. of Lexington was picked by the city and state to perform the work, and Smalls said the new mast arms will be stronger and less likely to be damaged by strong winds than the current traffic signals.

Work on the Craven Street intersection will start in about three weeks, and once a foundation for the mast arm is poured, prep work will begin on the Boundary Street intersection, Smalls said.

The mast arm installation is occurring before DOT returns to finish road milling and paving on Charles and North streets and other city streets. That work was originally to be done as early as September, after paving was completed on Bay and Lafayette streets. The contractor, APAC Inc., left to complete other projects and has not returned. Smalls has not been notified of a new start date.

That delay could be to the city's advantage, Smalls said. He prefers the road cutting and work to occur before the milling and paving.

The city is also working on a project to replace 65 light poles and add another 13 on Bay, Carteret, Craven, Charles and Port Republic streets. There are currently no poles on Craven Street or on West Street between Port Republic and Craven streets, but that will change with the new lights. That work was to begin as early as January, but the city has had difficulty finding a company to do the work and "reining in costs," Smalls said, and it has not been rescheduled. The project was bid out in December and rebid in January after no bids were submitted, Smalls said.

After considering the $455,000 budget and options, such as brick pavers over a utility trench that will need be dug along the sidewalk, the city sought revised bids, and staff is considering those, Smalls said.

"We have to evaluate and compare and really go over it with a fine-toothed comb," he said.

SCE&G is sharing the cost of that project.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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