Traffic

Hilton Head to see options for U.S. 278 bridges next week. Here’s how to weigh in

Here’s how bad traffic can get when you hit the Hilton Head bridge at the wrong time

Traffic to and from Hilton Head Island is often congested, but it can be at its worst on summer Saturdays when its tourist season and the vacationers are arriving.
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Traffic to and from Hilton Head Island is often congested, but it can be at its worst on summer Saturdays when its tourist season and the vacationers are arriving.

After a year of waiting, Hilton Head Island residents and drivers will get a glimpse of the future of the U.S. 278 corridor — which includes bridges to the island — next week when transportation leaders present six options for the project.

S.C. Department of Transportation representatives will hold a drop-in public meeting from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, 151 Gumtree Road.

The meeting will be an open-house format, meaning there will be no sit-down presentation of the six alternatives.

At the meeting, those who live near the corridor — or travel it — will be able to see the options, weigh benefits and obstacles and voice their opinions. The information will be available in English and Spanish.

For those who cannot attend the meeting, the options for the bridges and information about the project will be available at 5 p.m. Thursday at scdot278corridor.com.

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A spaghetti model of the range of alternatives for the U.S. 278 corridor from the S.C. Department of Transportation. SCDOT

After the meeting, members of the public will have 30 days to comment on the options, which could include replacing the bridge, adding lanes or traffic lights between Moss Creek in Bluffton and Spanish Wells Road on the island.

Project manager Craig Winn said the six alternatives are similar in how they address congestion between Squire Pope Road and Spanish Wells Road on Hilton Head.

A few are vastly different, though, in how they deal with Pinckney Island and Jenkins Island, he said.

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The study area for the U.S. 278 Corridor project by the S.C. Department of Transportation. The study area was extended to Spanish Wells Road on Hilton Head Island from Squire Pope Road earlier this year. S.C. Department of Transportation

The final plan, which will emerge from the six presented next week, will be unveiled in fall 2020.

Construction on the U.S. 278 corridor is scheduled to begin in 2023 and last four years, Winn said. The project will cost $240 million and is in part funded by the 1% transportation tax voters passed in 2018.

Watch The Island Packet online and in print for coverage of the full set of options.

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