ON THE BRIDGE PROJECT
Thanks to the combined efforts of Beaufort County Administrator Ashley Jacobs, Hilton Head Island Town Manager Steve Riley, state Sen. Tom Davis and our legislative delegation, the funding for the U.S. 278 bridge project has been secured.
Recently the public and Town Council learned that the state Department of Transportation has dropped “increased capacity” as one of the project goals. By removing that goal, engineers should be capable of designing a smart solution for the corridor within its current footprint.
Taxpayers expect and deserve to get the most value for their $272 million investment, and the state transportation department’s revised goals deserve an independent engineering consultant to ensure that our corridor is a model of excellence.
In addition the project should meet our unique values in these ways:
▪ Enhanced safety.
It must replace a bridge that is beyond its useful life while also improving safe access to the Historic Stoney Community, Windmill Harbor and Pinckney Island.
▪ Reduced congestion.
It must provide connection to the Cross-Island Parkway and make other enhanced intersection improvements.
▪ Improved functionality.
It must create an iconic entrance to the island that is “human scaled” and provides bicycle and pedestrian access to the mainland — and is also safe for both residents and those who operate businesses (whether they are future establishments or existing ones such as Crazy Crab, Lowcountry Seafood, Willie Young’s Upholstery, etc.).
We the people of Hilton Head Island are tasked to ensure that this once-in-a-generation project is designed and executed with excellence defined by our own community.
I am in favor of implementing the best practices that many coastal communities employ to ensure that their large-scale road project are successful. In order to achieve this, a dedicated professional should be hired to ensure equity for all stakeholders.
Alex Brown, Hilton Head