One of the most traveled stretches of road in Bryan County, Hwy. 17 near the Chatham border, has finally opened up all four lanes of traffic after four years of construction.
Sherry Beal of the Department of Transportation reports the roads opened on Thursday or Friday of last week. She said there is a chance that the D.O.T. may close them for short intervals for follow-up work, but the roads are completed for the most part.
Richmond Hill City Manager Mike Melton said the state project was delayed when the company working on it, Triangle Construction, went bankrupt in 2005. He said Carroll and Carroll Construction picked up the project last year and have just completed.
For the last four years, large orange barriers have prohibited travel in all but two of the four lanes on Hwy. 17 around the vicinity of Love’s Seafood, Wal-Mart and Keller’s Flea Market.
Bryan County Administrator Phil Jones said this should make for less traffic and a smoother commute for those choosing Hwy. 17 as a commute route between Bryan and Chatham counties and it now makes this a more viable route.
Jones said one of the causes of the delay with the project was the fact that it involved two separate counties. He is hopeful that this ordeal has created some awareness of how multiple counties and the D.O.T. should work together when approached with future projects that have a joint impact. He also said this project is important due to the continued growth of the area.