Seeing orange: Where York County, Indian Land drivers can expect those barrels next.

SCDOT talks I77 and SC 160 fix in Fort Mill

RFATS and SCDOT discuss I77 and SC 160 fixes in Fort Mill. Options are a diverging diamond and a SPUI.
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RFATS and SCDOT discuss I77 and SC 160 fixes in Fort Mill. Options are a diverging diamond and a SPUI.

Thursday may have turned York County red, white and blue, but the coming months may well turn it orange.

“It’s a lot going on, that’s for sure,” South Carolina Department of Transportation project manager Berry Mattox said. “So get used to seeing the orange barrels. I don’t think it’s going anywhere for a while.”

On June 28, Mattox updated the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study policy committee on a variety of ongoing, or coming, projects. Many are funded through guideshares, or federal money allocated each year to and through urban planning groups like RFATS.

Here’s a look at some of the larger projects in the RFATS area, which spans Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie and even Indian Land in Lancaster County:

S.C. 160 Widening

The Lancaster County widening involves work from Possum Hollow Road to the York County line, at Sugar Creek. S.C. 160 will be five lanes to Rosemont Park and McMillan Park Drive, then three lanes to the creek. A center turn lane will be added along the entire project.

“We are still very much in the throes of construction on that,” Mattox said.

Plans are to wrap up construction in summer 2020.

“We’re getting close to shifting some traffic out there,” Mattox said.

Work involves the driveway at Movement Mortgage, followed by a detour in one of the busier areas each rush hour. In addition to the ever-growing number of homes in that area of Fort Mill and Indian Land, the now two-lane road backs up routinely on work days with vehicles bearing North Carolina tags. It’s a cut-through connecting the Fort Mill/Rock Hill areas with Indian Land, Ballantyne and I-485 connections to Charlotte.

The widening is a $21 million project. Guideshares from the Catawba Regional Council of Governments and the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study combine for more than $18 million, the rest coming from the Lancaster County Water and Sewer District.

U.S. 521 and Marvin Road

A new southbound turn lane and right turn lane on Marvin Road, plus upgraded signal timing, are planned at the busy Indian Land intersection. SCDOT is getting right-of-way now. Plans are to put the work out for construction bids in August 2020.

“That project involves adding dual right turn lanes off of Marvin, dual left turn lanes for southbound movement coming out of North Carolina onto Marvin,” Mattox said.

Turn lanes will reach 300 or 400 feet down from the intersection, adding storage for turning cars. Lanes will extend past a steep turn in the road.

“The turn lanes themselves don’t need to be that long for storage capacity,” Mattox said. “It’s just to get it around that radius (and not to) develop a lane in the middle of a curve like that.”

Right-of-way costs already increased from $100,000 to $493,000. The entire project is listed at $1.2 million of guideshare money, though final construction costs likely will put the price tag higher.

“We’ve indicated all along, we do expect an increase in construction costs,” Mattox said. “It’s just a placeholder.”

Celanese Road at India Hook Road

More turn lanes and lane storage should improve the Rock Hill intersection. Money for right-of-way just came, with money for construction expected in June 2020. The project should go up for construction bids in August 2020.

“We are looking to move into right-of-way on that one now,” Mattox said.

Northbound India Hook will add dual lefts and dual rights along with a through lane. Early right-of-way estimates of about $500,000 have doubled, but the overall project cost shouldn’t change as a result.

“We kind of have to work with shifting some money around,” Mattox said. “We think the project is funded, currently, based on the money we have for construction.”

The $7.6 million project comes mostly from federal air quality grants ($4.8 million, plus $1.2 million local match). Guideshare money accounts for $1.6 million.

Celanese Road and Riverview/Riverchase

Blythe Development won the $3.6 million construction contract last fall for work to add turn lanes at the busy Rock Hill intersection, and connect Ligon Drive from Riverchase to Riverview roads. The project should be done by Nov. 30.

“We’re moving a good bit of dirt out there,” Mattox said.

The entire project is just less than $5 million. Federal air quality and grant and local match funding make up about $3 million, the rest coming from guideshares.

Congestion at the intersection causes major backups at I-77 and Celanese Road, to the point where discussion in recent months centered around what may happen if the ongoing fix doesn’t provide enough relief. There has been talk among road planners of taking the traffic signal out.

“That’s not part of this project,” Mattox said. “It’s purely some turn lane improvements and connecting Ligon Road.”

Pleasant Road at Carowinds Boulevard

Turn lane storage will be added to the intersection at the exit of Carowinds. Right-of-way money already is in, with construction money expected June 2020 followed by the project going out for bid August 2020. Construction could begin late next summer, but may not.

“That’s one we’ve kind of talked about possibly holding off on construction, depending on what traffic does at the Gold Hill interchange,” Mattox said. “We expect an influx of traffic here, people avoiding the interchange.”

The Pleasant Road and Carowinds Boulevard project is $2.1 million, right at $1.5 million coming from federal air quality and matching grants. The rest comes from guideshares.

“We are moving along into right of way,” Mattox said. “Everything is on schedule there.”

At some point in the year between now and construction more money may be needed. The $1.5 million for construction could come in at up to $2.2 million, Mattox said.

“We do expect a construction increase,” he said.

East White/Firetower at East Main Street

The Rock Hill work will add storage to the left turn lane at the eastbound part of East White Street at East Main Street. Cherokee, Inc. won the $1.7 million construction bid in November. The project should wrap up by Oct. 31.

The $2.8 million project is funded entirely through federal air quality and matching grants.

Clebourne Street at North White Street

Fort Mill will get a new right turn lane on Clebourne Street, onto northbound U.S. 21 Business. Construction money should come available in August. Construction bids could start coming in by October.

“Overall that project, we feel that it’s funded and we feel pretty good about the direction this one’s headed.

The $1.6 million project comes from air quality grants and matching funds.

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