One of the most anticipated and innovative road improvement projects in York County is just months away from construction.
Applause followed the announcement May 17 at a Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study meeting that bids are in for the Interstate 77 and Gold Hill Road interchange near Fort Mill. Contingencies added to the $11.3 million low bid bring it up almost to $12.8 million. The project includes $2.45 million in federal funding.
“We are currently working with the state to be able to award this project,” said Pennies for Progress manager Patrick Hamilton.
The bids likely will be awarded at the state transportation department’s June commission meeting. Construction could then begin by August or early September. Current estimates show the project finishing next year.
York County Councilman Michael Johnson said he’d like to see a contractual done-by date to keep a contractor on pace.
At the same RFATS meeting, Hamilton updated the policy committee about McConnells Highway work in Rock Hill that’s now more than a year behind, prompting penalties of $1,800 a day from the contractor until it’s done.
“The beginning date is one thing,” Johnson said of the Gold Hill interchange. “People really want to know when it’s done.”
There already have been delays in the interchange project approved by York County voters in the Pennies program, a cent sales tax for road construction approved in 2011.
In 2015, transportation leaders announced I-77 and Gold Hill would be the state’s first double crossover diamond interchange. That configuration, which has drivers from each side of Gold Hill cross over to the opposite side of the street over the interstate, is designed to allow for better traffic flow and improve safety.
State transportation department current traffic counts show I-77 at the North Carolina line sees about 100,000-160,000 vehicles per day.
The Gold Hill interchange and McConnells Highway roadwork join construction at Pole Branch Road in Lake Wylie, also from the 2011 list. Plus, several other projects from the 2017 Pennies campaign.
Crews have started on the five-lane bridge over Mill Creek as part of widening in Lake Wylie. The project involves S.C. 274 and Pole Branch, widening to three and five lanes.
“They have installed a good bit of curb and gutter, and sidewalk,” Hamilton said.
Work at S.C. 160 West from its Gold Hill intersection north to the state line is progressing, he said.
“We’ve already got some catch basins installed, some storm drains going in,” Hamilton said. “All the clearing has been done. Next, we’ll start on the utility lines.”
Clearing is done, utilities are wrapping up and it’s about time to work on the road itself at the Anderson and Cowan Farm roads intersection in Rock Hill.
Only Mt. Gallant Road in Rock Hill remains from the first group of resurfacing projects from the 2017 Pennies 4 list. New Gray Rock, Harris, Springsteen and Old Friendship roads are complete.
“They’re doing the paving on Mt. Gallant now,” Hamilton said of the three-mile stretch. “I’ve been told that should be done by the end of this month or the beginning of June.”
A second set of roads for resurfacing, all in western York County, should be done in November. A major project on Cherry Road, in front of Winthrop University and Cherry Park, should also be complete by November.
“If you’ve gotten some calls already, that’s scary,” Hamilton told the RFATS group, largely made up of elected officials. “Because they really haven’t started the bulk of the work yet.”
Cherry Road work involves digging more than a foot out to create a new roadbed and will take months.
“This isn’t just a normal paving project,” Hamilton said. “This is a very intense, very in-depth project where we’re having to essentially rebuild the entire road.”
Yet another set of resurfacing roads — Oak Pond, Campbell and Chappell roads and some in western York County — should be complete in November. Eden Terrace from Anderson to Cel-River roads in Rock Hill was in that group, but was pulled out for completion by next spring because of a water main project in the area.
Offset south, left turn lanes on U.S. 21 should be done by November. Bids on a project there are being reviewed.
Several more projects are acquiring right-of-way. They include widening of S.C. 160 East from the Fort Mill bypass to the Lancaster County line and Rock Hill work at Riverview Road and at S.C. 72 from S.C. 902 to Rambo Road.