Improvements to the entrance of Windmill Harbour and redevelopment of the Coligny Beach area are among top priorities set by a Town of Hilton Head Island panel Thursday.
The town's Capital Improvement Program committee recommended 10 projects Town Council should consider when it sets the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
The recommendations include $200,000 to design an access road to Windmill Harbour parallel to William Hilton Parkway. Town staff say the access road would eliminate left-turns and median crossovers at the entrance, making it easier to enter and exit Windmill Harbour and nearby Mariner's Cove, Blue Heron Point and Hilton Head Harbor Marina.
The $3 million it would take to build it would come from the State Transportation Improvement Program, administered locally by the Lowcountry Council of Governments.
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A compromise in November 2010 between the DOT, the town and Windmill Harbour residents led to warning signs with flashing beacons on the parkway on both approaches to the gated community.
Signs and markings also were also aimed at channeling traffic entering and leaving Windmill Harbour better and alerting drivers approaching the intersection.
Windmill Harbour residents had wanted a traffic signal at the entrance to the gated community. A traffic study, however, indicated a stoplight wasn't warranted. The town also opposed a signal there, fearing it would create a bottleneck for drivers crossing the bridge to the island.
The town sees the compromise as a temporary fix, Scott Liggett, director of public projects and facilities, said.
"It's so dangerous there now," said committee member Gail Quick.
More than 30 accidents occurred between Blue Heron Point Road and Jenkins Road during a 3 1/2 year period, according to a 2010 report. Nineteen were wrecks in the medians. Two of the accidents were fatal.
The committee also recognized the crunch the town is under to use tax increment financing revenue to create a quarter-mile-long park along Pope Avenue surrounded by new commercial and residential development in the Coligny Beach area.
A 15-year tax increment financing district created by the town to spur redevelopment expires in December 2014, giving officials until the end of the 2015 fiscal year to use the money.
The committee recommended the town move forward designing the proposed improvements to Lagoon Road, Pope Avenue and Cordillo Parkway.
In total, about $8 million in public improvements -- from pathways, parks, roads, new buildings, equipment and vehicles -- have been proposed for the 2013 fiscal year.
Other priority items included:
The town's planning commission will consider the committee's list before making its own recommendation to Town Council.
View an entire list of proposed capital projects at http://1.usa.gov/n6xhWs.