Plans to spruce up Dunnagans Alley area get a warm reception

Bikers, walkers and joggers will have a safer trek from bridge to beach on Hilton Head Island under plans for a new pathway along Dunnagans Alley.

Town officials on Thursday presented conceptual plans to the public for a multi-use pathway along the southern side of Dunnagans Alley from Arrow Road to Palmetto Bay Road; and along the eastern side of Palmetto Bay Road from Dunnagans Alley to Target Road.

Nearby property owners applauded the project, particularly plans to build a roundabout at the intersection of Arrow Road and Dunnagans Alley.

The roundabout is expected to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce wrecks at the intersection, town staff said.

"It's really bad right now," said Joe Ryan, broker-in-charge at Weichert Realtors Coastal Properties, 1038 William Hilton Parkway. "It's a fight to get across Arrow (Road) from Dunnagans (Alley)."

Ryan said the area is showing its age and needs to be spruced up.

"The town did a wonderful job with the pathway on New Orleans Road and they need to keep moving forward with similar projects. It improved the aesthetics of the island, and anything that gets done in this area is great," he said.

The project would complete a circuit of pathways through the area, linking bicyclists and pedestrians to island beaches, said Bryan McIlwee, assistant town engineer. The pathway would connect with paths along Palmetto Bay Road from Target Road to the Cross Island Bridge, and along Target Road to Arrow Road.

Town Council budgeted $880,000 to build the traffic circle. The pathway is estimated to cost approximately $125,000, McIlwee said.

"This provides safe pedestrian access through the Dunnagans Alley Commercial Walking District where there is currently no connectivity; no existing pathways," McIlwee said.

The project was first conceived in 2002 as part of the town's Bridge to Beach Redevelopment Plan.

Much of the development in the area predates town ordinances. Some structures are slowly deteriorating and do not meet current building, flood and fire codes, according to town documents. Much of the area doesn'taccommodate pedestrian connections, McIlwee said.

Officials plan to seek bids in late October, with work beginning this winter or early spring and finishing by the end of June, said Jeff Buckalew, town engineer.