CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation will begin making safety improvements to 14.75 miles of Highway 61.
The goal of the project is to make the road safer. SCDOT said they plan to complete the project without destroying any of the area’s scenic beauty or oak trees.
Officials say the first phase of the protect will include a portion of the highway near the Charleston County line which will be completed by December of this year.
Improvements will include a new roadbed and pavement, two 11-foot wide lanes with three-foot paved shoulders, safety rumble strips on the centerline and edge lines, higher-visibility paint and reflectors, and warning signs at curves.
The work will then move to another 8.25-mile section from the Colleton County line to the intersection of US Highway 17-A, which will be repaved and receive new four-foot shoulders and rumble strips, and better paint and reflectors will be added. Construction for this section will begin after the first section is completed.
“Our refined design for Highway 61’s improvements preserves the corridor’s live oak trees that are hundreds of years old and improves citizens’ safety as they drive along the scenic route,” said Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. “Based on a detailed analysis of seven years of crash data and significant input from the community, we were able to work with Governor Henry McMaster and other stakeholders to alter our plans to maintain the area’s historic beauty while fulfilling our commitment to make our roads safer.”
The project’s total cost of $7.8 million includes incentives for the contractor, Banks Construction who was awarded the competitive bid, to complete construction of the first phase on time.
SCDOT said the improvements to Highway 61 are part of agency’s Rural Road Safety Program, which was made possible by the state gas tax increase enacted in July 2017.
Motorists can expect periodic delays and lane closures during the construction.