CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - For almost three years, Bees Ferry Road has been marred by orange traffic barrels and seemingly non-stop construction. But, that all ends Friday as the widening project wraps up.
Charleston County leaders say the project will be fulfilling its purpose, aiming to improve the traffic flow along the length of Bees Ferry Road. The road was widened from two lanes to four for most of the four and a half miles between Highways 61 and 17.
Construction started in January 2012, and its completion date has been pushed back several times. The project was originally scheduled to be completed by April 2014 but was pushed back.
The delays were blamed on weather, additions to the project and a major sewer project happening at the same time.
The original cost of the project was $32 million, however the final construction cost wound up being $39 million.
A county spokesman says private developers will pay the extra $7 million cost, and a small part will come from taxpayers through the transportation sales tax.
He says delays didn't add to the cost, but the size of the project did. Another traffic light, turn lanes, and other improvements were added because of new developments, including luxury apartments that went up along Bees Ferry Road.
The widening project includes the following improvements:
- Widening Bees Ferry Road from two lanes to four lanes for the majority of the project with left and right turn lanes at intersections where warranted.
- Widening Bees Ferry Road from four lanes to six lanes between Grand Oaks Boulevard and the future West Ashley Circle intersection to the north of Glenn McConnell Parkway.
- Installing a 10-foot wide multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians on the west side of Bees Ferry Road, which that will tie into the multi-use path along Ashley River Road, and a five-foot wide sidewalk along the east side of the road.
- Realigning the intersection of Bees Ferry Road and Savannah Highway to a 90-degree angle and installation of a new stoplight.
- Constructing two left-turn lanes at the intersection of Bees Ferry Road and Ashley River Road for drivers traveling north on Ashley River Road toward Summerville.
- Constructing a free-flow, right-turn lane at the intersection of Bees Ferry Road and Savannah Highway for drivers traveling south on Savannah Highway toward Savannah.
- Constructing a landscaped median from Savannah Highway to Glenn McConnell Parkway and wherever possible with consideration for road access.
- Improving roadway and offsite drainage that will include new drainage boxes, ditch clearing, curb and gutter, larger drainage pipes, and water quality structures that remove debris and pollutants from storm water runoff before it is released.
- Protecting numerous grand oak trees within the limits of the project.
- Replacing the existing bridge over the Church Creek Canal with a new longer, wider bridge complete with bicycle and pedestrian accommodations.
A Charleston County spokesman says crews have a walk-through scheduled later this month to check for punch list items, but the chunk of the project is complete.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony marking its completion Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Grace on the Ashley Church.