Church Member Calls Highway 278 Entrance 'Accident - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Church Member Calls Highway 278 Entrance 'Accident waiting to happen'

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Photo courtesy: David Lavery Photo courtesy: David Lavery
BLUFFTON, S.C. -

With the start of the New Year and a wider Highway 278, comes a resolution from parishioners of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church.

Members plan to challenge Beaufort County and Berkeley Hall to resolve the pick up the frontage road project that began years ago.

Churchgoers say the parking lot traffic would dump into the highway even more than it already does, if it were not for sheriff's deputies directing traffic each Sunday.

"It would be chaos," says James Coyle. "You struggle in, and you struggle out."

Others say it's only a matter of time before bad things happen.

"It's a tragedy waiting to happen," John Haddock says.

Ever since the widening of the road, drivers are forced to U-turn across six lanes of busy traffic.

"It needs to be resolved," Haddock says.

For now, the church staffs members to put out cones to snake the traffic around the parking lot in order to prevent cars from spilling into the road, off the property.

One of James Coyle's duties is to do just this. However, he explains the long term solution the congregation hoped for was a frontage road across the front of their lot.

"The solution that was recommended years ago, which is to get an access road that went to Berkeley Hall," he says. "You'd get out at the light, and you'd get out safely, which is what we're trying to do."

The project stopped short, where the black top meets their lawn around six years ago, he says. That's when the neighboring community Berkeley Hall stood against the additional road.

Berkeley Hall General Manager Adrien Morris says they initially did not want the road added, for the safety of their own residents. Then he says DHEC became involved, and prohibited the road because it would cut into some wetlands.

Morris suggested the road be built in the opposite direction from his community only, toward the Bluffton fire station.

However, church member and St. Gregory the Great Catholic School Principal Chris Trott says the County would only allow the road if it stretched in both directions.

For safety of their members, though, churchgoers say they will continue to fight for the new road.

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