SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Construction on widening a 2.3 mile stretch of road on Delemar Highway (Highway 165) in Summerville is expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to Dorchester County officials.
County Council Chairman Jay Byars said Monday the project is well ahead of schedule, eight months to be exact.
"This is a major safety project for Dorchester County citizens," he said. "Widening this road to four [travel] lanes is really something we should have done 10 years ago, but the money just wasn't there."
A majority of the $14.2 million for construction was provided through the SC State Transportation Infrastructure Bank along with nearly $2.6 million in Capitol Fund and CTC Fund in Dorchester County.
Byars said at this point, construction is also expected to come in under cost.
"This road out here was really dangerous," he added. "It was dark, there was no room for error, and you've got kids texting on the phone and you go off the road and you end up in the trees. That's where it was."
County officials said the road has always been dangerous, but when Ashley Ridge High School opened 10 years ago things got even worse.
The state Department of Transportation estimates an average of 5,000 cars daily on the stretch of road from the school to Highway 61.
"Before school, after school that is the key trend," Byars said. "You're going to see some growth out here as well. So for once you're actually having a road being built ahead of the growth."
"We've already seen a huge decrease in the number of accidents on a daily, weekly basis," said Karen Radcliffe, Principal of Ashley Ridge High School. "So we're excited to see the safety."
While the traffic will not be completely erased, Dorchester County officials and those at Ashley Ridge High are looking forward to the future when it comes to transportation.
"I think the steady flow of the traffic is important," Radcliffe said.
Construction also included a 4-foot bicycle lane and an 8-foot sidewalk.
Dorchester County officials plan to widen the remaining stretch of Delemar Highway down to County Line Road in the future.
Byars said this widening project will also help with traffic flow for the proposed Glenn McConnell extension project.