Officials agree road should be completed by start of school

Fort Mill's Southern Bypass

York County and Fort Mill school officials agreed Friday that getting the Southern Bypass in Fort Mill completed in time to serve new schools slated for the area is a priority, representatives said.

The two groups met to discuss the timeline for possibly building three schools and concerns from school officials about a delay if the planned route for the $15 million road is changed.

"It was a good meeting to make sure we're all on the same page," County Manager Jim Baker said.

York County previously assured the district the bypass, paid for by the 2003 Pennies for Progress program, would be completed by 2009. But planning has been stalled by funding issues, deciding its route and now a debate over whether it should be widened to four lanes as federal officials recently suggested.

Friday, both sides committed to doing everything possible to work with the school's timeline for the bypass, said Keith Callicutt, Fort Mill schools superintendent. Due to rising growth, the district is looking at placing a middle, elementary and possible a high school near the new road.

The route identified for the new two-lane road could change as county staff looks for a way to expand the number of lanes to handle projected traffic issues.

In order for the bypass to be federally approved, the county would need to study making the road four or five lanes, which could add nine months to the planning stage.

Representatives from both public bodies will continue to meet on the subject, Callicutt said.