With a recent $1.4 million boost, the planned road-widening on S.C. 160 East in Lancaster County is now fully funded.
The Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study policy committee voted Nov. 21 to bring in the Indian Land to Fort Mill connection, formerly listed as a rural project, and to allocate funding.
A similar allocation from Catawba Regional Council of Governments brings funding for the widening up to its $9.8 million estimated construction cost.
“We’re going to send out a bid for construction in late 2015, and the plan is to begin construction in early 2016,” said Brian Klauk, project manager with the state Department of Transportation.
The road will be widened to five lanes, two in each direction, with a center turn lane, from Possum Hollow Road near U.S. 521, to Macmillan Park Drive. It then will be three lanes to the York County line at Sugar Creek.
A public hearing on the project was held in early 2013. Since, engineering design and right-of-way acquisition have been ongoing. Even with full funding in place, Klauk said, he estimates 30-36 months of construction after it starts in 2016.
“It’s a project we’re eager to move on,” he said.
Data from the 2010 federal census led to service-boundary changes for groups like RFATS, which serve urbanized areas. In 2013, RFATS brought Indian Land in as population there grows alongside Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
“That brought Lancaster County into RFATS,” said David Hooper, RFATS director. “It’s the entire panhandle.”
RFATS brings in more than $6 million in federal funds each year. The group plans out for 20 years, with a little more than half that income committed to local projects and the rest set aside for needs that arise.
The group has about $63 million committed now and $53 million “unprogrammed.”
The $1.4 million for S.C. 160 came from the $53 million pot. Hooper said S.C. 160 is a major concern for RFATS as population increases along it, as is U.S. 521.
“This is not just a project,” Hooper said. “This is the the project right now.”