ROCK HILL — Two years and four months after work began, a one-mile stretch of Rock Hills Mount Gallant Road no longer looks like a construction zone and has an extra traffic lane for cars.
The widening of Mount Gallant between Celanese and Anderson roads was probably the most difficult Pennies for Progress project in the past 15 years, said Phil Leazer, one of York Countys program managers.
Pennies for Progress is York Countys road construction program, funded by a 1 percent sales tax county voters have approved three times since 1997.
The work on Mount Gallant Road was particularly challenging because of its location in a high-traffic area including businesses and homes, Leazer said. Workers were also challenged by the number of utility lines under the road, he said.
Widening Mount Gallant near Rock Hills water treatment plant at the intersection with Cherry Road was challenging because crews had to work around a large number of water lines that feed into the plant.
It was extremely tedious getting in and around those lines, Leazer said.
York County voters initially agreed in 1997 to increase the sales tax to pay for a specific list of road construction projects. The tax was renewed in 2003 for another list and again in 2011 for a third.
The $5 million Mount Gallant Road widening work was included in the 2003 round of projects, along with 24 others. The total for those projects was $173 million.
When Pennies began, the York County Council hired an outside consulting firm to manage the program.
In 2004, the county hired a different firm to run the Pennies program. Later, out of frustration with projects moving slowly, Leazer said, the County Council voted to move Pennies operations in-house.
Engineers and other county officials hear loud and clear that residents want road work to move more quickly, Leazer said.
With local control, he said, future road projects in York County should go more smoothly and wrap up on schedule.
The next round of Pennies work, approved in 2011, will be the first set of projects that Leazer and another in-house county employee, Jim Gaddy, have overseen from start to finish, he said.
Upcoming projects include construction of the Fort Mill Southern Bypass, the Interstate 77 interchange at Gold Hill Road, and widening of U.S. 21, S.C. 51, S.C. 274 and S.C. 279.
The first phase of construction on the Southern Bypass is underway. When complete, the $20 million project will result in a two-lane, three-mile new road.
Phase One, from Banks Road to Holbrook Road, will wrap up in December 2014. The second phase, from Holbrook Road to S.C. 160, is scheduled to begin this summer.
Anna Douglas • 803-329-4068