SC DOT asking for your help driving future of Highway 278

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Its a plan for the future of Bluffton and Hilton Head for drivers coming to and from the Island.

Officials want you to have a say in what happens next along Highway 278.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting next week on the changes and improvements planned for that highway.

The DOT held a similar session last fall where people gave their input on how to add lanes and replace the current bridges going to the island.

While no specific plans were outlined in that meeting, much of what the public said and asked for was incorporated in the plans that will be shown at this next meeting on September 19.

This will not be a typical sit and listen to meeting. DOT Project Manager Craig Winn says “It is a drop-in, open house format. People can talk to the project management team. It will begin with a video to watch, there will be a noise presentation so they can hear the different noise levels associated with traffic noise to help determine alternatives as far as that goes. Like if we put up a noise wall/barrier and the noise drops 4 decibels, what does that sound like? We will also have various displays for them to look at including the reasonable alternatives.”

The project management team says they are working to make sure it’s not too complicated, so people can understand what each plan entails.

Project managers say there are 17 initial range of alternatives which they have narrowed down to six possible proposals. Each one addressing some of the challenges many drivers face on their daily commutes.

“We want to make sure we aren’t missing anything,” said Winn. “Is there a community that’s been impacted that we want to reconnect or is there a historical marker that we’ve missed as part fo this process or are there wetlands or traffic issues. This intersection isn’t functioning correctly, maybe that our data doesn’t show that the public is seeing and perceiving as part of the corridor.”

“There’s a wildlife refuge that we have to coordinate with, a boat landing, understanding and listening to the native island community. There’s just a lot of community impacts.”

The meeting is September 19 from 5pm to 7pm at the Boys and Girls Club on Gumtree road in Hilton Head.

There won’t be any formal presentation, managers are asking for people to drop in anytime during that 2 hour period to see the proposals and give their direct feedback.

That will help determine the final plan, which will be presented at a public meeting in the Fall of 2020. The cost is expected to cost about 200 million in federal, state and local money.

Construction could begin in 2023.

For more information or if you can’t make the meeting but would like to take a virtual project tour go to www.scdot278corridor.com.

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