JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) - Many concerned citizens are making their voice heard about the dangers of traveling on U.S. Highway 17 after one of WTOC's own, Don Logana, was tragically killed in a head-on collision early Sunday morning near the Talmadge Bridge in South Carolina.
WTOC reached out to the South Carolina Department of Transportation to find out more about the widening project for that deadly stretch of road that has claimed so many lives.
SCDOT says the US-17 Widening Project entails widening US-17 for approximately 4 miles, 2 lanes to 4 lanes divided by a grassed median, from SC-315 to the Georgia State Line. This project also includes intersection improvements at SC-315 and US-17 and the addition of a twin bridge over the Back River, which many feel is much needed and long overdue.
Officials say the construction of the Back River Bridge will be constructed has a separate project and will not be included in the initial widening project.
Lowcountry Area Transportation Study currently has $8 million set aside for this project in 2021. The project is being managed by SCDOT.
Extensive Geotechnical ground modifications will be necessary on this project and bike lanes have been added to the typical section upon the request of LATS.
SCDOT says the environmental document for the project is being completed and they anticipate a public hearing around the first of the year. They say minor maintenance repairs are currently being planned on the existing roadway in order to improve conditions and anticipate initiating ROW acquisition in early 2017.
A meeting is expected to take place within the next two weeks to discuss the Intergovernmental Agreement for the design and development of the Back River Bridge. Construction funds for the bridge are not available until 2021.
The total project cost for Phase I is currently estimated at $54M. Phase II project costs are currently estimated at $17M.
The following is an anticipated schedule for Phase I of the project, according to SCDOT:
- Public Hearing - Beginning of 2017
- ROW Acquisition - Spring 2017
- Construction - Spring 2018