New Hwy 278 construction impacts community

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - New construction on Highway 278 in Beaufort County is still in its planning stages but local representatives are looking at how they can use this construction as an opportunity to rebuild a community that was separated when it was first constructed decades ago.

Hwy 278 has been a project in the making for years on Hilton Head, but now the construction is getting closer. Local politicians say it is not just the roads people should be worried about.

“It’s our responsibility to build a community,” Hilton Head councilmember Alex Brown said.

When Hwy 278 was first constructed, it split a historic neighborhood in half.

“The whole sense of place in the Stony Community has disappeared.”

Now, council, local representatives, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation say they want to use the project as an opportunity to rebuild that loss.

“My colleagues on town council are realizing that this is more than just building a highway.”

“There is now a holistic effort being made, a holistic look at the northern end of the island to make sure that this Corridor that is coming on or off Hilton head is sympathetic to and reinforces the sense of community in the stony community. So that’s what we are working on now,” state Sen. Tom Davis said.

Brown says he wants the effort to focus on safety, adding cross walks and bike paths, and overall reuniting the two sections of the stony community that were separated.

“This is an opportunity to put it back together.”

Politicians are aware the north end of the island has been the area to suffer most from Hilton Head’s growth and new infrastructure. New roads, a new airport, and a new solid waste plant have all been located there.

That’s also where most of the historic neighborhoods exist. They say rebuilding Hwy 278 could be a way to help that impact.

“We can go ahead and design and also in conjunction with the town land, rebuild that community and have ways of connectivity.”

Brown believes the efforts could be achieved if council members realize building one of the areas up, builds everyone up.

“Taking a look at how it’s affecting not only those in stony but us as a whole on Hilton Head.”

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