Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Mark your calendars for Nov. 30, 2013, Dorchester Road drivers.
That’s the target date for completing the nearly $22 million project to widen Dorchester Road between Old Trolley Road and U.S. 17-A to five lanes from the current two.
The road project, the most complex to be undertaken in Dorchester County according to Council Chairman Larry Hargett, is one of the 22 projects included in the 2004 referendum implementing a one percent sales tax for road construction.
The widening is sorely needed, officials said.
Hargett said he was astounded to learn that a traffic study conducted in May found that 34,500 cars daily travel Dorchester Road in the Oakbrook area, near the Sawmill Branch culvert. The Berlin G. Myers Parkway carries only 22,000, he said.
Plans call for curb and gutter with a wide, multi-use sidewalk from Old Trolley Road to just past Orangeburg Road, then paved and grass shoulders to U.S. 17-A.
“It will provide our citizens a safer, more user-friendly roadway,” Hargett said.
But drivers will have to be patient, said Marshall Murdaugh, chairman of the Dorchester County Sales Tax Transportation Authority. Construction will be inconvenient, he said.
The original referendum has been supplemented with other money from the federal government.
Oil prices, and therefore road construction project estimates, spiked shortly after the referendum was passed, said Mark Pilgrim, vice chairman of the Dorchester County Sales Tax Transportation Authority. “We realized early on $125 million was nowhere near enough to build all 22 projects,” Pilgrim said.
He said Hargett was instrumental in helping locate the extra money.