Beaufort News

US 278 widening gets green light from DOT despite concerns

The board that oversees South Carolina's Department of Transportation on Thursday approved the widening of U.S. 278, despite concerns from one DOT commissioner.

The DOT commission voted to move ahead with the $24 million widening from four lanes to six on a 5-mile stretch from Simmonsville Road to S.C. 170.

Commissioner Sarah Nuckles of Rock Hill, however, said she is concerned about DOT's funding shortfall and that the money should be redistributed throughout the state.

But DOT Deputy Secretary John Walsh explained that the project has been earmarked for federal funding, along with a $6 million match from local governments. The state is contributing less than $710,000 of the cost from gas taxes, he said.

"One of the things we need to encourage is local participation. We have that," said DOT Commissioner Craig Forrest of Bluffton.

The widening is scheduled to take two years and be completed by December 2013.

Beaufort County officials have said work could begin late next month, and that construction crews probably will not shut down lanes during the day but will at night.

The project also includes construction of a concrete wall between 3 and 5 feet tall in the median from Hampton Parkway to S.C. 170.

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U.S. 278 widening could begin by late October; Aug. 19, 2011