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Highway 17: Lane closings ahead for median project

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

It will be May before construction along Highway 17 in the Pawleys Island business district moves to the actual median, according to the project manager, but there will be nighttime lane closings as drainage work continues in the area.

The work is part of a $3.75 million project to install a raised median along 1.8 miles of highway from Waverly Road to Baskervill Drive. Along with that, Georgetown County is funding drainage work. It’s all being done by the same contractor, Palmetto Construction, and supervised by DOT, said Kit Scott, the agency’s project manager.

“Anytime we block a lane we work at night,” Scott said. The work generally takes place between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., but the lane closings are based on traffic counts and differ between lanes and by days of the week. For instance, work can’t be done in the northbound lane on Fridays until after 8 p.m., she said.

Boring under the highway began this week in front of the Downtown Pawleys shops. It’s one of eight locations for drainage work and will take about three weeks to complete. Crews will then move toward Waverly Road, where a drain will be installed in the median. “That will be done at night because it comes up in the middle of the road,” Scott said.

It will provide drainage for a landscaped portion of the median, she said.

The DOT plan for the median drew criticism from some area business owners because it will restrict left turns to 16 cuts in the raised median, including two at traffic lights that will be installed at the post office and the Hotel Drive/Jetty Drive intersection.

County Council Member Steve Goggans led a coalition against the plan before running for the District 6 seat last year. He was sworn in last week and said he has already had calls from constituents concerned about the work.

“I’ve gotten several complaints,” he said.

One was about Palmetto’s staging area at the corner of Coachman Lane, the former site of Club 17. Nearby residents said the noise and light from nighttime work keeps them up.

Scott was due to meet with county planning staff about the site Wednesday, although she said the issue is between the contractor and the county.

Goggans said he was told the site has to move to commercial property.

Another concern is the barrels that line the construction zone. “Some people can’t see around or over those barrels,” Goggans said.

Scott said DOT has rules for how the barrels are placed and their location is marked in the project plan. “They’re there for safety,” she said. “We’re trying to get a safe, quality project.”

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