Hardeeville City Council discussing implementation of 66-mile bike trail

Updated: Jul. 18, 2017 at 5:39 PM EDT
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HARDEEVILLE, SC (WTOC) - The City of Hardeeville is looking to get ahead when it comes to accommodating the influx of population expected with the new Jasper County Ocean Terminal.

Transportation is an important aspect of that, so city officials have been working on a master plan that would introduce a system of bike trails around the city.

We caught up with some bicyclists to find out how the plan could help save a life.

One phase of the project will allow students at the University of South Carolina Beaufort to easily access shopping plazas like the Walmart center down Highway 278. Connectivity is just one benefit of the master plan.

"I had two semis coming and I had nowhere to go, so I had to veer off into the ditch,"

That's the kind of danger bicyclists in Hardeeville like Mason DeLoach face on a daily basis.

"The traffic is a big issue. There really is nowhere for us to ride. The sidewalks are kind of bad so it's hard to get on there and ride with these skinny tires, because if you do, you'll bust a tire," DeLoach said.

A busted tire is just one of the many hazards, so the city is looking to change that. They've been working for three years on a master plan that will create 66 miles of linear trail in and around the city.

"Being able to let people get out and have a place to ride a bike or walk is important, because as it stands, the highways aren't safe to ride your bike in. 278 isn't safe to ride your bike on," said Addison Jarrell, Director, Hardeeville Parks & Rec.

But, how much does something like this cost?

"Typically, we want to do an off street trail that will be by itself; solid surface for bikes and pedestrians; trails like that run between $500,000 to $750,000 per linear mile.

The plan eventually calls for a leg of the trail to connect Millstone Landing to downtown Hardeeville, but don't get too excited just yet. The master plan is over a 20 to 25-year period, and right now, officials are working behind the scenes to figure out what leg of the project they'll start first and when they'll break ground.

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