Traffic

Will changes to U.S. 278 intersections make Bluffton traffic worse? Here’s the plan

This $240 million plan could ease your commute to Hilton Head. Here’s how they’d fund it

The U.S. 278 bridges from the mainland to Hilton Head Island are congested and structurally deficient. The Town of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County have a plan to fix and widen the bridges called the Gateway Corridor Project.
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The U.S. 278 bridges from the mainland to Hilton Head Island are congested and structurally deficient. The Town of Hilton Head Island and Beaufort County have a plan to fix and widen the bridges called the Gateway Corridor Project.

Changes planned for intersections along U.S. 278 won’t make traffic worse in Bluffton, an official with the South Carolina Department of Transportation promises.

Just under 50 people showed up to talk to the officials at Thursday night community meeting about upcoming work along the highway, said Brett McCutchan, safety projects manager with the agency.

U.S. 278 intersections with Buck Island Road, Bluffton Road, Hilton Head National Drive and Salt Marsh Drive are included in the proposal.

“We got some good feedback,” McCutchan said. “A lot of people were excited about it. Some people had concerns, which is typical.”

He said comments are still being reviewed, but a common concern was that taking away the ability to bypass the turn signal when making a right turn onto U.S. 278 from Buck Island Road and Bluffton Road would back up traffic.

Studies show that the changes won’t cause delays but will improve the safety of the intersections, he said.

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A concept illustration shows the changes proposed to the intersection of U.S. 278 and Buck Island Road. SCDOT

The work is separate from another U.S. 278 corridor project in which SCDOT is proposing to replace one of the Hilton Head Island bridges. That project focuses on the area from around Moss Creek on the Bluffton side of the bridges to the Squire Pope Road area on the island.

The work also is separate from repairs and paving being done along Buck Island Road. A message left for the office managing that project was not immediately returned.

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A concept illustration shows the changes proposed to the intersection of U.S. 278 and Bluffton Road. SCDOT

Here’s what is being proposed for U.S. 278 in Bluffton:

  • At Buck Island Road: The right-turn lane that routes traffic onto U.S. 278 would be relocated and controlled by a traffic signal.
  • At Bluffton Road: The right-turn lane that routes traffic onto U.S. 278 and the short acceleration lane would be changed to a turning lane controlled by a traffic signal.
  • At Hilton Head National Drive: The ability to make a left turn onto U.S. 278 would be removed.
  • At Salt Marsh Drive: The intersection would be simplified for those turning from U.S. 278 into Moss Creek Village.
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