With road projects in Bluffton and Okatie nearing completion, another is set to begin within a week.
Lane Construction Corp. of Beaufort plans to begin work Aug. 5 on the first segment of a Beaufort County road project linking Island West with the intersection of Hampton Parkway and U.S. 278, according to county officials.
The road would be built at the highway's intersection with a newly aligned Hampton Parkway, just west of Stokes Brown Toyota.
From U.S. 278, Hampton Parkway would be extended a few hundred feet to link with Toyota Drive, which runs behind the car dealership. From there, the connector would meet with Island West Park, a road that provides access to the new Enmark Station and Goodwill, according to county drawings.
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County officials are still negotiating with Island West Commercial Associates to purchase two parcels needed for the second segment of the connector, at the end of Island West Park, that would provide access to the Island West neighborhood.
Both properties have been appraised by the county and offers made, county engineering director Rob McFee said.
The project also includes a traffic light at the intersection of Hampton Parkway and U.S. 278.
Construction is expected to be completed in December, soon after the U.S. 278 widening is finished, and will not require road or lane closures, McFee said.
Island West is contributing $100,000 toward the connector, and supermarket chain Harris Teeter -- which intends to build a store near the intersection of U.S. 278 and Hampton Parkway -- is chipping in $100,000 for the traffic light, county spokeswoman Joy Nelson said. The remaining $400,000 will come from the county's 1-percent transportation sales-tax fund.
The neighborhood has been seeking a safer way to cross U.S. 278 for almost a decade.
"This is a dangerous intersection ... and we are pleased to see the project is moving forward and will coincide with completion of the U.S. 278 widening," said Jim Cuff, head of the Island West Home Owner's Association.
Nelson also said work to widen the U.S. 278 bridge over the Okatie River is "80 percent complete." It should be finished by the end of November, she said.
Work began in November 2011 on the $23.6 million project to widen the highway from four lanes to six, from its intersection with S.C. 170 in Okatie to Simmonsville Road in Bluffton. The project is set to end Dec. 15. The road was widened to six lanes from Simmonsville Road east to Moss Creek in late 2006.
"Having this area of 278 stretched to six lanes will allow traffic to flow easier and smoother all the way through Bluffton to Hilton Head," Nelson said.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.