Beaufort County's administrator has "formally requested" the names of engineers who have reviewed Councilman Stu Rodman's alternate plan for the Bluffton Parkway flyover segment, the source of much controversy in recent days.
In an email Thursday to Rodman and other County Council members, Gary Kubic said he would like to review the engineers' written findings and "invite them to address Council and members of our community."
"If necessary, I am willing to provide their transportation and lodging," Kubic wrote. In the alternative, we also can video link to them to our meetings to eliminate any travel," Kubic wrote. "In any event, please have them electronically transfer their written analysis and findings to us. It will be incorporated as part of our due diligence."
Kubic also sought information from Rodman about any environmental impacts his plan might have on local waterways.
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Rodman said in a phone interview Thursday that he will try to respond to Kubic's request.
"I guess I will do the best I can do get it done," Rodman said.
Tensions over the flyover project have been rising since Sunday, when a group calling itself Citizens to Stop the Flyover ran an advertisement in The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette newspapers urging the current design be scrapped.
County officials and R.R. Dawson Bridge Co., which is the low-bidder for the flyover work, called the ad misleading. County Councilman Steve Baer described it as propaganda.
Even so, Hilton Head Island's Town Council on Tuesday withdrew its support for the project after a hearing presentation from the opposition group.
County Council's Public Facilities Committee is expected to discuss the flyover at 2 p.m. Friday in what could be the project's final review. County engineers have been asked to provide detailed traffic data on the current flyover plan and also any information about possible impacts of Rodman's plan.
The current flyover design would create a new road starting at Buckingham Plantation Drive that crosses the marsh between The Gatherings and Buckingham Landing. Two flyover bridges would connect the east and west lanes of U.S. 278 to the Bluffton Parkway near the bridge to Hilton Head.
Rodman's plan would retain the elevated crossing over the marsh but eliminate the flyover bridges. Instead, the elevated road would end at a T-intersection near where Fording Island Road Extension meets U.S. 278, requiring a traffic light.
He confirmed Thursday that his plan has been reviewed by an engineer but he did not say by whom.
Rodman, who holds an engineering degree from Cornell University, said he wouldn't suggest a design if he wasn't confident it would work.
The flyover project is expected to cost no more than $45 million.
A final vote on the flyover construction contract is possible on Monday night, during the council's regularly scheduled meeting. R.R. Dawson already has extended its low-bid price twice, but the current extension will expire in early March.
Council will meet Monday at 5 p.m. at Bluffton Library. The council's caucus will begin at 4 p.m.
Follow reporter Casey Conley at twitter.com/IPBG_Casey.