County Council unanimously moves ahead with Lady’s Island projects

Beaufort High access realignment tabled for now

From staff reports

Beaufort County Council voted unanimously (11-0) on Monday to move forward with the remaining six Lady’s Island Corridor Traffic Improvement projects, totaling $30 million, identified in the 2018 Penny Sales Tax Referendum and table the Beaufort High School Access Realignment.

“The County will focus on the six remaining projects and bring long-awaited traffic improvements to Lady’s Island,” Assistant County Administrator for Infrastructure Jared Fralix said. “We are finishing the designs and should put the projects out for bid and start construction this winter.”

The Council decided to table the high school access realignment because the three most viable options were not economically and/or environmentally feasible. Also, the community around the high school was split on what was the best way to proceed with the project.

Additionally, Council voted to table any improvements to US 21 Business between the Woods Memorial Bridge to the SC 802 intersection. The County staff will continue to explore the best way to move forward with improvements that not only address traffic congestion but enhance the character of the island.

All the proposed projects were in response to growing concerns about the island’s transportation constraints, and in 2016 the City of Beaufort and Beaufort County launched The Lady’s Island Corridor Study, prepared by Stantec and adopted in 2017; it was updated in 2021.

The original nine transportation improvements were aimed at providing a comprehensive system of parallel roads and intersection improvements in the Lady’s Island crossroads. These proposed projects provide better connections between businesses, schools, parks, and residential areas. In addition to the Beaufort High School Realignment, Mayfair Court was previously removed from the sales tax program.

The six remaining projects to be completed are:

Airport Frontage Road – US 21 Airport Area and Frontage Road include improvements that will reduce travel delays and improve access management. They would also provide Little Creek Road and Lost Island Road access to the traffic signal.

Hazel Farm Road and Gay Drive – The Hazel Farm Road and S-7-497 Gay Drive project would include paving of Hazel Farm Road, improvements to Gay Drive, construction of the roundabout, pedestrian accommodations along Inlet Road, installation of new traffic signals at each end, and signal interconnection with the US 21 / SC 802 signal.

Lady’s Island Middle School Access Road – The new Lady’s Island Middle School Access project includes realigning the main entrance road to the middle school with Gay Drive and tie-ins to the middle school driveways, existing Cougar Drive, and Robin Drive. Pedestrian accommodations will be along both sides of the new alignment and one side of Robin Drive.

Meadowbrook Drive Extension – Meadowbrook Drive to Dow Road extension involves roadway work on existing right of way. The extension would increase roadway connectivity with access to the proposed signal at Gay Drive.

Sunset Boulevard and Miller Drive West – Sunset Boulevard and Miller Drive West include improvements to both streets and the installation of a new traffic signal at the Miller Drive West intersection with SC 802 with signal interconnection with the US 21 / SC 802 signal. This would increase pedestrian safety on Sunset Boulevard and Miller Drive West and provide congestion relief for the main US 21 / SC 801 intersection.

The final project, US 21 Business, US 21, and SC 802 Mainline improvements, is still in the design phase and may need additional funding due to raising labor costs and inflation. The upgrades include medians for access management, grass buffers and multi-use paths, lighting, and landscaping. These improvements would create a complete-streets feel to the corridor, and benefits include enhancing bicycle and pedestrian accommodations, safety, and improved vehicular progression.

APAC Atlantic completed the Sam’s Point Turning Lane project for $761,000, adding a right turn lane at SC 802 (Sam’s Point Road) and US 21 Business to improve movement capacity during the morning rush hour.

For more information, visit https://beaufortcountypenny.com/

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