About 1.5 miles of new Bluffton Parkway roadway, between Malphrus Road and Buckingham Plantation Drive, will open Monday morning after 18 months of construction, Beaufort County officials say.
Once it opens, vehicles will be able to travel from S.C. 170 in Okatie to Moss Creek near the bridges to Hilton Head Island without battling traffic and construction on U.S. 278.
"This is another component in the overall investment that Beaufort County citizens are making to improve transportation in southern Beaufort County," said Rob McFee, the county's director of engineering and infrastructure.
Completion of the new section signals another milestone in the Bluffton Parkway project, which was built to ease congestion along the U.S. 278 corridor and provide an additional emergency evacuation route, deputy county administrator Bryan Hill said Friday.
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The only remaining piece of the parkway project is the "flyover" bridge connection with U.S. 278. County officials are reviewing bids for that project, which is expected to cost about $31 million and begin later this year.
The new section, known as 5A, will be a divided four-lane highway with a multi-use bike and pedestrian path along both sides of the road. A one-mile segment of 5A between Burnt Church Road and Malphrus opened in April.
The section between Burnt Church and Buckingham Plantation, built by the Ridgeland firm Cleland Site Prep, cost about $11.6 million. Funding came from impact fees, a one-cent sales tax voters approved in 2006 for transportation projects, and state and federal grants.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for 8:30 a.m. Monday at intersection of Bluffton Parkway and Buckingham Plantation Drive.
The road should be open in time for many motorists' morning commute.