Hilton Head officials ask county for money to pave dirt roads - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Hilton Head officials ask county for money to pave dirt roads

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

Hilton Head officials are hopeful hundreds of residents who live on dirt roads will soon get a smoother ride.

The town has asked the county for $7 million to pave almost two dozen roads throughout the island. But the money the town is asking for is not guaranteed.

Hilton Head has more than 80 dirt roads, and is looking to buy and pave about 21 dirt roads if it gets the money from the county.

Officials asked the Beaufort County Capital Sales Tax Commission to include them on a sales tax initiative that would generate more than $120 million to complete projects countywide.

If the dirt roads does make the cut, voters will make the decision to approve or deny the penny tax referendum on the November ballot.
 
“The road portion of the request involve the acquisition, paving, and drainage of 21 roads here on Hilton Head Island. We are actively pursuing roads. We do have a plan of attack that we are looking for guidance on council how best we go into these neighborhoods and try to negotiate these acquisitions,” said Hilton Head Public Projects and Facilities Director Scott Liggett.

The money will be used to buy some of the roads, the rest will be used to pave them. Residents say they’ve been waiting decades for this to happen and they are happy to see the town is making some progress.

“It’s kind of sort of like driving an obstacle course really,” said Thomas Aiken, Hilton Head native.

Imagine bobbing and weaving, trying to avoid large holes, puddles and tree stumps every time you drive to and from your own house.

“The roads are extremely bad, especially when it rains. We have a hard time getting to and from our homes,” said Aiken.

Hundreds of Hilton Head residents have that same problem.

“We did some patch work, in between, but it doesn’t last because basically it’s no drainage,” said Aiken.

The town counts about 80 dirt roads on the island, a vast majority of them on the north end.

“I don’t feel like the native islanders are getting fair treatment. Most of the things that happen in our area, we are last to get it,” said Aiken.

Hilton Head officials say there are two reasons why dozens of dirt roads haven’t been paved.

“Money and receptiveness of the impact and benefit of the impacted and benefiting property owners. There is the potential to we may find folks willing to work with us and would agree to the property transfer. We may find we acquire clouded titles,” said Liggett.

Getting $7 million from a sales tax won’t be an easy task. It has to go through the county tax commission, approved by county council, and then voted “yes” by majority of county residents on the November ballot, but residents are remaining optimistic.

“We need something done as soon as possible. If it keeps going the way it is, we’re not going to be able to really get to our homes,” said Aiken.

The town says if it doesn’t get the money from the county, the roads will still get paved, but just at a slower rate.   

If the town does get the money from the county, they say it’ll take a few years to acquire and pave all 21 roads.

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