Beaufort County to contribute $83,500 to Spanish Moss Trail

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comApril 21, 2014 

Beaufort County will contribute $83,500 to help finish the sixth section of the Spanish Moss Trail that will run from south of Parris Island Gateway to Laurel Bay Road.

That money will go toward construction that's already underway there, and to improvements to the pilings supporting the trestle that spans Albergotti Creek in northern Beaufort County, according to county engineering director Rob McFee.

The rest of the cost for the stretch of about 1.5 miles has been paid for by donations and grants. The PATH Foundation of Atlanta is working with a local group, Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail, to help fund, design and build the path.

Beaufort County Council's Public Facilities Committee approved the contribution Monday.

"This is Beaufort County's trail, and it is appropriate for the county to have an investment, even if small, in each of the segments," said Dean Moss, executive director of Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail.

The county also is designing the fifth section, a nearly 2-mile stretch from Depot Road to south of Parris Island Gateway. Most of the $1.4 million cost of this section will be paid for with federal grants, and the county has pledged about $300,000 for the construction, McFee said.

The S.C. Department of Transportation issued preliminary approval last week for the county's design of that portion, county traffic engineer Colin Kinton said. Next, DOT is expected to approve schematics of the path and the design for a pedestrian crossing signal at S.C. 170, he added.

Kinton said construction should start at the end of summer.

The trail currently stretches 3.3 miles from Ribaut Road in Port Royal to Depot Road in Beaufort, according to the Friends of the Spanish Moss Trail website. Sections five and six will extend it another four miles north to the communities near Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

Councilman Brian Flewelling's only concern was how soon the full length of the trail would open.

"I'm just trying to figure out when I can challenge Mayor (Billy) Keyserling to a bike race," he said.

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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