Changes on Hilton Head’s US 278? Gas station wants third lane on north end

There’s a new traffic light on Hilton Head Island’s U.S. 278, and it’s just one of the changes coming to the main arterial on the island.

Town of Hilton Head Island officials announced this week that a new light was activated at the intersection of William Hilton Parkway, Pembroke Drive and Museum Street near Walmart.

The new light has left-turn arrows in both directions, according to a town news release. It includes a flashing yellow arrow that directs drivers to yield when turning left — it’s the first of its kind on the island.

Don’t worry, a sign reminds left turners to yield on the flashing yellow arrow.

SCDOT traffic engineering has started putting a new type of traffic signal in the state -- the flashing yellow arrow. The arrow lets drivers know that they can turn left when opposing traffic has cleared. When the light turns solid yellow (in the middle) it means the signal is about to turn red. SCDOT

Almost two miles down the road, Circle K gas station is hankering for a new lane on U.S. 278. The owners of the gas station, at the corner of Mathews Drive, have begun talks with the town to add a third lane to make it easier for drivers to enter and exit. No one appears to know the cost of the project yet.

The third westbound lane would be installed for a relatively short stretch of U.S. 278 between Dillon Road and Mathews Drive.

Circle K hopes the new lane would allow drivers to turn right coming in and going out in front of the gas station. The town has considered incorporating the project into its capital improvement program to “improve traffic circulation” in the area.

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Town of Hilton Head Island community services and public safety committee agenda package

The community services and public facilities committee will hear the cost-sharing proposal in a special meeting Aug. 12. If approved, the request would next go to Hilton Head Island Town Council.

Town staff does not have an estimate or a budget for the Circle K lane project yet, according to Scott Liggett, director of public projects and facilities.

“We don’t yet know the full scope of the project or how the costs may be apportioned. Should the notion of a potential public/private partnership be endorsed, details like this will come,” Liggett wrote.

Both projects come as the S.C. Department of Transportation prepares to present alternatives for another section of U.S. 278 — between Moss Creek Drive and Spanish Wells Road. That project, estimated to start construction after 2021, will address congestion and safety on the Hilton Head bridges.

SCDOT will host a second public meeting at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island at 5 p.m. Sept. 19 to present the first round of options for the corridor.

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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.