HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – The fastest way to get to Hilton Head Island’s south end will soon be free to use.
Tolls on the Cross Island Parkway will end June 30.
“The Cross Island Parkway has been serving Hilton Head residents, visitors and businesses as an important alternate travel route for more than 20 years, and we’re pleased to convert it to a non-tolled roadway permanently,” said Justin Powell, SCDOT Deputy Secretary of Finance and Administration.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation will stop selling new Palmetto Pass accounts on Feb. 28.
Opened in 1998, The Cross Island Parkway is a 7.5 mile, limited access route that connects the William Hilton Parkway (Business US 278) at the north end of the island with Palmetto Bay Road and the Sea Pines Circle at the south end.
Built in the 1990s for a total of $83 million, the only toll road controlled by SCDOT was paid for with $38 million of state highway and federal funds and $45 million of toll bonds.
The tolls collected were used to repay bonds that were issued to build the road, pay for toll collection operations and maintain the roadway and facilities.
The bonds will have been paid in full by June 30, so the toll will be discontinued then.
“Since the toll will have completed its purpose of supporting the Parkway’s financing, we will be discontinuing it as required by state law. We are preparing to close out related Palmetto Pass accounts and prepare for construction work to remove the toll facilities on the corridor,” Powell said.
The toll booths will be demolished this fall.
SCDOT and its contractor who operates the toll, Conduent Transportation, will be communicating with the more than 32,000 Palmetto Pass customers during the coming months on procedures to close their accounts, return their transponders, and how they might receive refunds of their deposits.
Conduent has begun contacting these customers by mail, email, public and media information, and the Palmetto Pass website, crossislandparkway.org.