Groundbreaking for 3rd phase of Berlin G. Myers project expected in spring

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:27 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2021 at 6:39 PM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials said Monday the $125 million third phase of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway project is set to break ground in 2022.

Mayor Ricky Waring, South Carolina Transportation Secretary Christy Hall and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham attended an announcement on the project.

Hall said the “monumental” moment was 17 years in the making. The third phase will extend the road approximately 3.25 miles from East Carolina Avenue to Highway 17-A. Engineers hope that will decrease traffic on Main Street. They also want to improve how the parkway connects with other roads and enhance safety.

Graham told a crowd that it is incumbent to pass on to the next generation “a livable community.”

“This Parkway is a big freakin deal. It’s gonna get 30,000 cars off Main Street,” he said. “Nobody’s gonna lose any business, but you can get to your job.”

He said a lot of people in the Lowcountry spend “way too much time in their car getting somewhere.”

Federal funding will pay for $60 million of the $125 million project, and $30 million of that federal share will come from the newly-passed bipartisan infrastructure package.

The State Infrastructure Bank will pay for about $30 million, and the Dorchester County Transportation Authority will cover the remaining $35 million.

Graham and other state officials say the recent passing of that trillion-dollar bill will help to speed along this project and developments like it in the future. He said, “time is money,” and if they can speed up these projects, it will save a lot of it.

Graham also said that despite what he calls a divide between parties on that bill, projects and bills like this “just make sense.”

“I don’t mind working with democrats when it makes sense,” Graham said. “I didn’t go up to Washington just to say no to everybody all the time. If you can convince me this is good for the state, good for the country, I’ll work with democrats.”

“Trying to get state and federal agencies to work together is difficult because the rules are so different, but the impact on the community is just undeniably positive,” Graham said.

Portions of the Sawmill Branch Walk/Bike Trail will have to be reconstructed, and the Luden Drive parking area will be relocated.

The project has been in the works for years but has faced setbacks, mostly because of strict permit policies by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Graham said the announcement was “a case study in how to get something unstuck.”

“A lot of people in government have a hard time getting the ‘yes,’ because their jobs depend on slowing things down and finding a reason not to do something,” he said. “I’ve tried to make people’s jobs depend on getting to yes in a responsible way. That you’ll get rewarded by getting the community to the next level; that the goal is to build things that need to be built, being caring to the environment, but realize that things are changing. South Carolina is changing in a very rapid fashion.”

Graham also said the growth in and around Summerville makes projects like this even more important.

“South Carolina has a problem that most people would dream of. Everybody seems to want to come here. Well, we can’t have everybody come here, but the people who do come here, we want to make sure we maintain a quality of life,” Graham said. “Summerville is a beautiful community, and this road is absolutely essential for this community to grow.”

Construction on phase three of the project is scheduled to begin in 2022.

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