BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) - The $46 million construction project on the bridge between Bluffton and Hilton Head has a new completion date.
Engineers said they are planning to have the flyover bridge that connects Bluffton Parkway and Highway 278 finished by June 30. Construction started three years ago, and drivers are excited to see the project is coming to an end.
The county said in a few months they'll be done and the commute to and from Hilton Head won't be such a headache.
"I think they're going to expect a very nice bridge, nice views of the marsh, some that they've never seen before," said Senior Project Manager Dan Chism. "It's certainly going to help the traffic on Highway 278."
The nice bridge and the less congested traffic was supposed to come sooner, with the initial completion date scheduled for last November. People who live near the construction site can't wait until it's all over.
Susie Passaloukas/Bluffton Resident:
"Sometimes there's a banging, dull sound all through the night, and sometimes it starts at five in the morning," said Bluffton resident Susie Passaloukas.
Passaloukas said the traffic is probably the worst part.
"Actually, 15 until seven in the morning, you go to the stop sign, wait until the traffic lulls, flash your lights and two hopefully good Samaritans will let you cross to the median," she said.
Engineers said the project is taking so long because they had to build into the marsh, a time consuming and tedious process. Not to mention, Hwy. 278 is the only way to and from the island, so they've had to constantly work around four lanes of traffic.
"It's a very complex bridge," Chism said. "Plus, the curves that you have to have to bring it from Bluffton Parkway to tie it into 278. Those things all compound together to make it very difficult. Also, the construction ties into 278 and trying to manage the existing traffic on 278 with the construction."
It's been a frustrating three years for drivers and residents. Passaloukas said she can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I hope it will be a good outlet for everyone to travel more quickly and safely and to cut the time down and traffic down," she said. "Hopefully everyone will learn about the parkway and know how to use it."
The bridge is supposed to be completed by June 30. County officials said if it's not done by then, it will be charging the contractor liquidated damages every day past that date.