A major Lady’s Island project to help traffic flow more safely and efficiently through a key intersection iis expected to be finished by next summer.
Work began in June on a Sams Point Road roundabout at the intersection with Brickyard Point and Holly Hall roads. The project is expected to be finished by the end of June 2017, Craig Winn, who is managing the project for the S.C. Department of Transportation, said Friday.
Clearing and gutter work are complete and sewer work has begun, Winn said. The completed roundabout will be 175 feet in diameter.
Construction was expected to begin last year but was delayed to relocate utilities, a Department of Transportation engineer said last year.
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The cost of the project jumped to about $4 million from an initial estimate of $2.45 million. Increased paving costs and economic conditions contributed to the higher cost, Winn said.
The project will be paid for through the Lowcountry Council of Governments using federal money from DOT's Guideshare program. About 20 percent will be paid for with state money.
The project was greenlighted in 2011. The initial plan was to pay for the work using impact fees from nearby housing developments, but the money didn’t materialize amid slumping home sales.
Engineers believe a roundabout is more appropriate at the intersection than a traditional traffic signal and will allow cars to flow more freely through the intersection at slower speeds. Federal research has shown roundabouts to be safer than traditional intersections.
The roundabout comes as several new developments are under construction or in planning stages.
About 20,200 traveled the stretch of Sams Point Road from Sea Island Parkway to Brickyard Point Road each day in 2015, up from 14,400 the previous year, according to annual traffic-count numbers from the Department of Transportation.
The first three months of work by contractor Preferred Materials are expected to be low-profile, said Paul Butare, chairman of the Lady’s Island Business and Professional Association transportation committee. More noticeable construction should pick up by the end of the year, he said.
A planted median near the intersection will be completely removed as part of the project and 100 feet will be trimmed from another median. Butare expects a low-profile, planted area to occupy the center of the new roundabout.
Some lane shifts have already begun for lane striping and sign work, a Preferred Materials release said this week. The speed limit in the construction zone has dropped to 35 mph.