Highway 170 Construction to Resume

Anyone who drives between Beaufort and Okatie can tell you, there's not a whole lot of work going on right now on the highway. For weeks now, the main contractors have been the only ones out there, with no subcontractors. But they're about to get busy again on Highway 170.

Within a couple weeks, paving crews should be back out on the road. Balfour Beatty has reached an agreement with APAC Construction. For travelers along the busy corridor, that means--hopefully--they'll be able to stop adding time onto their trips soon.

The project has ground to a halt over the last few weeks, when Balfour Beatty dropped all its subcontracting. The state hasn't stepped in because officially it's not the state's project. The Department of Transportation says because of the way the contract is set up, it doesn't really care who does the work. Officials are just glad to see it's going to get started again soon.

Commuters couldn't agree more. "They really need to put a rush on this project so we can get things back to normal and they can get the traffic flowing better," said driver Waverly Patterson.

That traffic flow has been a big headache. But not as big as the safety concerns. On every trip up or down Highway 170, you're likely to see at least one near miss. "I've seen a couple fender benders, and a couple of them could have been a lot worse," said driver Russ Trent.

"I've had people pass me on the double line, just flying, just driving like maniacs," added Waverly Patterson.

Balfour Beatty's October deadline to finish the project came and passed almost six months ago. The DOT is hoping to see the project wrap up in about six months.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com