S.C. 170 may be newly widened, but it isn't a smooth ride quite yet.
The 4.5-mile stretch from U.S. 278 to S.C. 46 floods from heavy rain, like the area experienced Wednesday, and is marked in spots by standing water, holes and broken asphalt.
Those problems will be resolved when crews put the finishing touches on the highway, which should be completed by the end of July, Beaufort County traffic engineer Colin Kinton said Wednesday. Though that's another month past the $15 million project's long-delayed deadline, Kinton says, it should remain on budget.
Most work is done on the four-lane stretch.
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Contractor Cleland Site Prep has built curbs and gutters along the highway's median, placed an asphalt base and installed guardrails, according to Kinton.
Last week, consultants hired by the county inspected the road and painted numerous areas that require repairs, such as small potholes and deteriorating pavement.
"There was quite a few places" marked for repairs, Kinton said.
He's not surprised the road needs work, as portions of the base layer of asphalt were put in at least six to nine months ago.
"I don't think it was intended for traffic to be on it for that long," Kinton said. "It was only designed for traffic to be on it for a month or two."
The widening project's original deadline was May 2014. The county is penalizing Cleland financially for each day the project is past deadline, county officials have said.
Cleland will be filling in temporary drainage holes alongside stormwater drains, which are currently blocked to prevent construction debris from clogging drainage lines.
The curbs and median are also raised an inch or two above the first layer of asphalt, making drainage difficult without the small divots, which are equipped with temporary pipes.
Attempts to reach Cleland on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
After Cleland's work is done, paving company Preferred Materials will apply a final layer of asphalt.
That layer will eliminate the lip alongside the road, making it flush with the curbs and median, Kinton said. That and the growth of grass should alleviate drainage problems from heavy rain, he said.
Work on traffic lights is moving along, as well.
The signal at Bluffton Parkway should be restored by next week, and a new traffic signal at Sun City Boulevard -- which began flashing yellow Wednesday -- will also be activated next week, Kinton said.
Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.
- SC 170 project limps past another deadline; June completion expected , April 24, 2015