BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - A major project more than a decade in the works is finally finished in Beaufort.
City leaders called the Boundary Street improvements a new gateway to their city. A handful of city, county, and project leaders cut the ribbon on the $33 million improvements to Robert Smalls Parkway and Boundary Street.
The idea started back in 2006 with this thought.
"Beaufort is too important to have a gateway that makes people think they're going to the wrong place," said Mayor Billy Keyserling.
The project totally revamped that gateway. Crews widened the road, added seven traffic lights, improved the sidewalks, and took down power lines to bury them underground.
"With all the utility coordination and the amount of stakeholders from day one with design through construction, it was really a massive undertaking for us. I couldn't be prouder of our team," said Robert Royal, VP and General Manager of Preferred Materials Inc., the company in charge of the project. "It is absolutely beautiful to drive through. I couldn't believe the difference that the utility poles being taken down, everything underground made. Once we drove through, it was really eyeopening.
Royal said it's the biggest project they've done. The completion date comes at an important time for residents in the area.
"With the last two years, and the trauma of this region has faced, this job couldn't have come in at a better time right at the advance of hurricane season," Royal said.
Mayor Keyserling lauded the teamwork between state, local, and federal governments. The project is done on time and under budget.
"It creates a sense of place that is safe, environmentally sound and in time will prove to be a smart fiscal move," Keyserling said. "Safety, environment and aesthetics, and fourth, sustainability, they all crossed in a perfect way."
Twelve years later, Beaufort finally has that new gateway to their city.
Crews started the project at the beginning of 2016. Tax dollars from a city fund, a county penny tax, and a federal grant funded this project. The mayor hopes it also encourages business growth in the area.