By Aileen Goldstein
Bluffton and Hilton Head commuters will hopefully get some relief very soon as the end of construction for the Bluffton Parkway Flyover is in sight.
Construction crews are still hard at work finishing the flyover, but Robert McFee, director of engineering and infrastructure for Beaufort County said, “They are painting at night and are on target for an early July ribbon-cutting ceremony.”
Drivers coming from the mainland and those coming off the island are expected to see less congestion and fewer delays, according to officials. More than 53,000 vehicles travel on that stretch of west and east U.S. 278 daily.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates traffic on 278 will decrease by 25 percent once the flyover opens. However, there is concern among many drivers that the merging on and off of 278 will cause more congestion on and off the bridges to Hilton Head.
The $45 million project began in May 2013 as a 30-month project. It was paid for by a 1-percent sales tax that county voters gave the nod to in 2006 and a $15 million Federal Highway Administration grant from the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
The mile-long elevated roadway will start at Buckingham Plantation Drive and cross the marsh between The Gatherings and Buckingham Landing.
Photo at top: The flyover heads over marshland toward the Wilton Graves Bridge. Photo by Aileen Goldstein.