Fort Mill Times

1st section of Fort Mill Southern Bypass opens

The first leg of Fort Mill Parkway opened last Wednesday.

The 2.2-mile stretch of what used to be called the Fort Mill Southern Bypass connects Banks Street near the intersection of Brickyard Road to North Dobys Bridge Road – also a new name – at Holbrook Road. Just minutes after barriers were removed at around 11 a.m., cars and trucks that might otherwise have gone through downtown Fort Mill tried out the new road, which runs past Banks Trail Middle School.

“One of the benefits we should see is less traffic on Fairway Drive,” said Phil Leazer, project engineer with Pennies for Progress, the voter-approved program that finances county road projects.

Residents of Fairway Drive, a narrow road that winds past the Fort Mill Golf Course have long complained about drivers using it as a short cut. It’s not unusual to see drivers going too fast on Fairway Drive end up in residents’ yards.

Leazer said approximately 20,000 cars a day are expected to use this phase of the parkway. When complete, the road will cover 4.2 miles and connect to Springfield Parkway near S.C. 160 East. Springfield Parkway was recently extended as part of an earlier Pennies for Progress project called the Fort Mill northern bypass.

Recently, the York County Council approved close to $350,000 in new money for the southern bypass. The Pennies for Progress project has about $3.6 million in its construction account to cover the allocation.

Pennies for Progress is a voter-approved 1-cent sales tax collected in the county to pay for new roads. The program began in 1997 and was renewed in referendums held in 2003 and 2011.

The total cost of the southern bypass is $53 million. The project hit a snag in 2012 when a bridge contractor noticed a surveying error that caused two of four bridge supports being built too high. The contractor suspended work until a plan was in place to tear down the supports and rebuild them at the correct height.

The final phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2016, Leazer said. Originally, officials hoped to have it done in 2015, but bouts of harsh weather caused construction delays.

“That really set us back,” Leazer said.

To view a map of the route, click here.