Work to repave parts of William Hilton Parkway starts this week and could add more delays to daytime traffic, including the afternoon-dismissal congestion at the Hilton Head Island schools complex.
The work by the S.C. Department of Transportation between Old Wild Horse and Gumtree roads begins Tuesday night and will include nightly lane closures on the three-quarter-mile stretch, said Toby Wickenhoefer, DOT local project manager. The repaving is expected to take two to three weeks.
The closures will begin at 9 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. each day, Wickenhoefer said. Weather permitting, crews expect to work every night, including weekends, to finish the paving as quickly as possible, he added.
Hilton Head Island town engineers warn that the project could lead to some daytime delays, as well.
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The repaving will temporarily remove the sensors that adjust the traffic-light timing at the parkway's intersections with Spanish Wells and Gumtree roads, town traffic engineer Darrin Shoemaker said. Instead, the lights will operate on fixed timing schedules during the construction, he said.
Traffic near Gumtree Road has been particularly congested in recent weeks during dismissal times at Hilton Head Island high and elementary schools. Last week, the high school delayed its dismissal time by six minutes in an effort to ease the traffic jams.
Adding construction to that mix won't help the situation, but Shoemaker's team will monitor traffic cameras in the area and adjust traffic-light timing manually to try to manage the congestion, Shoemaker said.
"We go through this every time there's a resurfacing project, and it's very likely we'll be making some temporary timing adjustments throughout," he said.
The repaving is part of $5 million in federally funded road improvements in Beaufort and Jasper counties, Wickenhoefer said. Other projects in the bundle include repaving U.S. 278 lanes west of S.C. 170 and improvements on Argent Boulevard in Hardeeville and Okatie.
The stretch of William Hilton Parkway to be worked on is the only part of the road that hasn't been repaved in the past decade, Shoemaker added. It's remained untouched since the Cross Island Parkway was under construction in 1996. The rest of William Hilton Parkway was repaved as part of the road improvements approved in a 2006 countywide referendum, he said.
Drivers are asked to pay attention to construction signs and be aware of the roadside equipment and crews.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.