A drab median along a stretch of U.S. 278 in greater Bluffton is poised to get a splash of color.
Landscape design work is wrapping up for a beautification project on a roughly half-mile portion of the roadway between Belfair Plantation and Rose Hill Plantation.
Beaufort County leaders have earmarked about $100,000 for the planting and maintenance of flowers and shrubs there.
Colorful daylilies, crape myrtles, witch-hazel, juniper, hollies, and various grasses are among the types of flora selected by landscape architecture firm J.K. Tiller Associates and approved by the S.C. Department of Transportation, county planning director Tony Criscitello said earlier this week.
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County planner Nancy Moss said the plants will reflect “mainly a purple color scheme” and should “add some interest and beauty to the area.”
Steve Wilson, chairman of the Southern Beaufort County Beautification Board, said “very low maintenance” native plant species were selected in an effort to keep recurring costs to a minimum.
The next step is to begin the bidding process to select a landscape company to install the new median plants. County leaders say the quicker that can be accomplished, the better.
“The important thing is getting the plants in the ground and established during the colder months,” Wilson said. “Then we have the spring and summer for them take root and really get going.”
Beautification of the median between Belfair and Rose Hill is just a small part of a long-term county plan to landscape all the medians on the 10-mile stretch of U.S. 278, from S.C. 170 to the bridges to Hilton Head Island.
Councilwoman Cynthia Bensch urged county staff to move swiftly through the full project because U.S. 278 “is the gateway (to Hilton Head Island), so it needs to be dressed up and look appropriate.”
County staff and elected officials have expressed concerns about the total cost of such a project, which is estimated to exceed several million dollars.
County Council members have suggested reaching out to the towns of Bluffton and Hilton Head Island to help shoulder some of that cost.