By Mayor Billy Keyserling
On Thursday, July 12, the City of Beaufort and Beaufort County held a public information session related to the proposed and upcoming improvements to the Boundary Street Redevelopment District. The purpose of the public information session was to provide an opportunity for area residents to review and discuss individually with representatives of the county and city the improvements for Boundary Street. The Boundary Street Project consists of replacement of the center turning lane with a median, realignment of SC 170 and the addition of a 10-foot-wide multi-use path. The project begins at Neil Road and ends at Ribaut Road. We have developed answers to some frequently asked questions related to this project.
SC 170/US 21 intersection realignment and use of roundabouts
The Traffic Study that was conducted as part of the 2009 Boundary Street Improvements indicated that a roundabout at the SC 170 and US 21/Boundary Street intersection would not function adequately due to the high traffic volumes. The intersection will remain as a signalized intersection but will be realigned as shown in the Boundary Street plans.
Roadway improvements for this phase of the Boundary Street project will end at Marsh Drive and will not include the proposed roundabout Ribaut Road that was shown in the 2006 Boundary Street Master Plan and 2009 Feasibility Study.
Raised median, Limited median openings and narrow lanes for access management and traffic calming
Currently, the US 21/Boundary Street corridor consists of two 12-foot travel lanes in each direction separated by a 15 foot-wide two-way left turn lane. Boundary Street serves approximately 40,000 vehicles per day (vpd). The proposed US 21/Boundary Street will consist of two 11 foot-wide travel lanes in each direction separated by a 17-foot-wide raised landscape median as well as new, wider sidewalks separated from Boundary Street by a planting strip on the northern and southern sides of Boundary Street. In the event of a natural emergency, such as a hurricane evacuation, the corridor can be managed to allow for four outbound lanes as needed.
A 10-foot-wide multi-use path/boardwalk will be constructed along the marshes of Battery Creek on the southern side of the corridor.
Emergency vehicle access
Concerns about emergency vehicle access and evacuation have been expressed and considered throughout the entire process. The Beaufort County Emergency Management Department was actively involved in the 2009 Feasibility Study Phases and the following features have been planned for: design will be verified to accommodate the emergency vehicles; raised median will use mountable curbs for emergency vehicle use; periodic breaks in landscaping to allow for median crossings by emergency vehicles; and installation of preemptive equipment for existing and new signals throughout the corridor for emergency vehicle use.
In addition to the design features identified above, the parallel road and network of interconnected streets will be useful for emergency vehicle access.
During the design phase, all attempts will be made to minimize the number of displacements and impacts to adjacent properties while meeting the needs of the community. All necessary property acquisitions and relocations will be in accordance with the applicable state and federal laws and regulations. Those individuals involved in displacements will be offered comparable housing, and property owners will be paid at fair market value for their property and may be paid proximity damages in accordance with state and federal guidelines. Any affected property owners will be given sufficient advance notice of the intention to purchase any property to allow for sufficient relocation time.
To preview the Boundary Street Redevelopment Plan, go to: http://www.cityofbeaufort.org/Data/Sites/1/media/Departments/planning/boundary-st-redevelopment-plan-adopted-06-12-07.pdf.