The construction of the Fort Mill Southern Bypass has been long awaited by many residents and school district officials. Now, board members fear that delays in construction of the bypass could become costly to Fort Mill taxpayers.
Until the bypass is complete, the district can't open its ninth planned elementary school because S.C. Department of Transportation officials are concerned that the school opening would put too much strain on heavily traveled Doby's Bridge Road, according to Jim Britton of Southern Management, the school district's construction management firm.
The school will be built in the Massey development on Doby's Bridge Road.
The district had hoped to open the school in 2011, but the bypass isn't expected to be complete until the end of 2013. The delay could cost up to $2 million in increased construction costs, said Fort Mill School Board member Michael Johnson, who expressed frustration with the delays at last week's school board meeting.
"It could cost us more," said Britton.
"It definitely could cost us more."
Phil Leazer, project manager for the bypass, said that designing the bypass took time because the county wanted to minimize its impact on the residents who live near the planned route.
Seven homes will be razed because of the bypass, and many other residents in neighborhoods around Doby's Bridge and Kimbrell roads have worked with the county to minimize the impact of the bypass on their properties.
"We have to try to come up with a fit for everyone to meet the intent of the referendum, to get the road built and to work with the residents of Fort Mill to get it in the least intrusive way we could," Leazer said.
"That has certainly presented challenges and not necessarily delays, but it takes time to meet the citizens' needs."
Leazer said he has met with district officials to explain the delays.
"There are many, many things that went into some of the schedule changes," Leazer said.
"I can say that York County is doing everything they can to work closely with the school district to get the road in place as quickly as possible."