The Town of Hilton Head Island has scrapped plans to connect Lemoyne Avenue to Cordillo Parkway after a group of Forest Beach property owners objected.
Instead, the town will repair the avenue later this winter, patching potholes and replacing crumbling pavement. A more extensive restoration might be considered by Town Council this spring for funding next year, town engineer Jeff Buckalew said.
"The vast majority of public sentiment was against extending it to Cordillo, so the town has decided to fix the road where it lies, as more of a maintenance project," Buckalew said.
Residents at a town meeting in August -- including condo owners from Oceanwalk, Ocean Breeze/Treetops and Seascapes -- acknowledged that Lemoyne needs repair, but worried the quiet road would become a busy thoroughfare that opens the area to criminals and vandals.
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A majority of the 27 residents at the meeting said the town should rebuild the road, but stop short of connecting it with Cordillo Parkway. Current traffic, they argued, did not warrant the connection. Construction for the nearly $1 million connection project was scheduled for October 2014 to March 2015.
Currently, Lemoyne Avenue serves as a private driveway to the condo developments. The town purchased it in 2003 after receiving complaints about the road's poor condition, according to town traffic engineer Darrin Shoemaker. He said the road's private owner had no interest in maintaining it. Since then, the town has periodically patched potholes.
Town officials had said the road needs to be extended and widened to meet increasing traffic demands. The extension also was expected to cut emergency-response times to the area by more than a minute and improve pedestrian safety by adding a pathway.
Instead, staff will ask council to approve more than $100,000 for drainage improvements to slow the road's deterioration, add a paved shoulder for pedestrians and straighten the road to improve sight distance for drivers. A blind curve makes it difficult for motorists to spot beachgoers who sometimes walk down the middle of the road, Buckalew said.
"The improvements we plan to make ... will be helpful and enhance the safety of the roadway," Buckalew said.
Former Oceanwalk board president Bruce Bartow, who owns two condos there, agreed.
"The residents of Lemoyne have never looked at it as a thoroughfare, but a community entrance, and we support the town's decision and anxiously await the repairs promised," Bartow said.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.