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This Hilton Head street has the most potholes, engineers say. And there’s a plan to fix it

Potholes cause major damage to South Carolina drivers

Rep. Gary Simrill and Rep. Todd Rutherford discuss the damage potholes cause to drivers in South Carolina and the need for road repairs in the state.
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Rep. Gary Simrill and Rep. Todd Rutherford discuss the damage potholes cause to drivers in South Carolina and the need for road repairs in the state.

Drivers complain more about the potholes and crumbling conditions of one Hilton Head Island street than any other, town engineers say.

“We get more calls about Main Street than we probably do about any other street,” engineer Jeff Buckalew told a town committee on Monday. He said the calls are about potholes, and drivers ask, “who is going to pay for my tire?”

Main Street, which runs parallel to U.S. 278 on the north end of the island, was built in the mid- to late-1980s, Buckalew said. Now, the business owners along Main Street — who own the street — may be dedicating it to the town so the town can fix it.

On Monday, the community services and public safety committee heard from town staff about taking over the road from Whooping Crane Road to Museum Street.

Once the town takes over the road, Buckalew estimated it would need about $476,637 worth of work to address crumbling curbs, parts of the road damaged by tree roots and everyone’s favorite — potholes.

Buckalew said the POA would be responsible for half of those costs.

After that, town engineer Scott Liggett said the road’s upkeep and improvement would cost taxpayers between $2 million and $5 million in the next few years. The improvement plan would likely include installing a bike path along Main Street, Liggett said.

MainStreetoffWilbornRoad
Main Street near Wilborn Road, Hilton Head Island, Oct. 9, 2016. Rebecca Lurye rlurye@islandpacket.com

Ward 1 representative Marc Grant said he favors adopting the ownership of the road — which services restaurants such as Frankie Bones, Main Street Cafe & Pub and Wise Guys — and fixing it, since it’s a cut-through often used by students from the Hilton Head schools on Wilborn Road nearby.

“I have kids in the public school, and I use it as a short cut all the time for the simple fact that (U.S.) 278 is backed up at 3 p.m.,” Grant said. “It has the possibility for new developments, new opportunities to increase revenue.”

The committee didn’t vote on the dedication of ownership on Monday, but will likely hear the issue again. Liggett recommended that if council favors the dedication, it shouldn’t approve the change until July 2020 so the town will have time to budget for the construction costs.

Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.
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