After years of complaints about drainage and reports of illegal parking, construction will start this week to upgrade the narrow, flood-prone side streets off Mathews Drive on Hilton Head Island.
The $775,000 project includes filling potholes, improving drainage and creating parking spaces on roads such as Thompson Street and Power Alley. The money for the project was approved by Town Council in January. The streets are near Mid-Island Plaza and Palmetto Electric Cooperative's office.
Business owners in that area said Friday the work will ease congestion and make it easier to travel after storms, when water sometimes pools in the middle of the road.
"This is huge, a godsend," said Bonnie Fisher, who owns Floors to Go By High Tide on Mathews Drive. "We're very excited that this is going to get done."
According to assistant town engineer Jennifer Lyle, the project includes:
- Creating about 85 clearly defined parking spaces on the streets.
- Repaving Cooperative Way, Mingo Way, Power Alley and Oak Park Drive.
- Improving drainage, and paving Thompson Street and part of Electric Avenue.
Plans call for overnight construction, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., on Cooperative Way, Thompson Street, Power Alley and Electric Avenue, she said. Crews will work daytime shifts to complete Mingo Way and Oak Park Drive, which is behind Port Royal Plaza.
The project should be finished by November, she said.
Some business owners have sought the changes since the town started buying roads in the area in 2007.
Currently, cars and trailers park along the narrow roads. Some of them jut into the street. The parked cars make it difficult for vehicles to pass through, especially when the streets are filled with rainwater.
Because the roads were once private, the parking spots were never approved by the town and do not meet its standards, Lyle said.
Fisher, the business owner, said it is difficult even for freight trucks to slog through the puddles to get to her store.
"It's like a lake down there, so (these changes) will be nice," she said.
Follow reporter Dan Burley at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.