Safety is paramount in frontage road dispute

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 17, 2014 

The parishioners of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church and the students attending its school have been forced to endure a safety hazard. Five thousand parishioners are forced to compromise their safety due to the failure of the Berkeley Hall community to comply with a 1999 agreement with the county to allow the county to complete a frontage road which would provide a safe entrance and exit to the church and school.

Several letters to the editor and two editorials by the newspaper have urged compromise between the Berkeley Hall community and the county. In the Feb. 2 edition, Beaufort County administrator Gary Kubic clearly articulated the facts in this long-standing standoff and the need to complete the frontage road.

This issue must be resolved as a matter of safety. The community's strategy of delaying this issue for six years through the courts cannot continue. If the community cannot live up to its previous agreement with the county to complete the frontage road, it may be necessary for the county to move forward under eminent domain and complete the construction. This would not be a quick process, but necessary if no other resolution is possible. The safety of residents and children is at risk.

Exiting the church going west on U.S. 278 and attempting to quickly cross three lanes of traffic traveling 60 mph vs. a 45 mph speed limit in order to make a U-turn at the Buckwalter Parkway traffic signal to go east on U.S. 278 is dangerous. A temporary alternative exiting the church parking lot might be to make the right turn on U.S. 278 and then a quick right into the Berkeley Hall entrance, which allows you to come out at the traffic signal at Buckwalter Parkway. This allows a much safer left turn onto U.S. 278 westbound.

Gerry Thornton

Bluffton

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