Steel plates, orange cones and new traffic patterns have become the norm lately. If you’ve traveled up and down Coleman Boulevard lately, you’ve noticed the area improvement project is in progress.
The construction zone, which began around September 2017, is estimated to be completed by December 2019, according to Paul Lykins, the Transportation Infrastructure Division Chief for the Town of Mount Pleasant.
“The contractor has completed what we call traffic control stage one. Which is all the improvements on the westbound lane side of Coleman. Now, he’s currently shifted traffic and is working on control stage two of the project, working on the eastbound lane side,” Lykins explained. “In stage two we will be installing storm drain and relocating utilities. That takes a long time. You don’t see a lot of progress because when you’re doing that you’re burying stuff. Once all the storm drainage gets installed, you’ll see curb and gutter, sidewalk and landscape start to take place on the eastbound side just like we’ve done on the westbound side.”
The speed limit throughout the construction zone is currently 30 mph, and Lykins said they anticipate that being the final speed limit once the improvements are complete. He estimates stage two to take approximately six months to complete, given they don’t encounter any weather or utility delays. Stage three will be the construction of the landscape media, including curb and gutter, storm water drainage, landscaping and decorative light. Stage four, the final stage will be the final paving, which is expected to start late summer 2019.
Drivers should be mindful that there is currently a lane shift in place so the contractor can work along the eastbound side. Also, there are areas of uneven pavement and steel plates on the road that drivers should slow down for. Lykins encourages drivers to exercise caution, treat the area like a construction zone and maintain the speed limit.
“We’ve pulled together making sure everything goes smoothly. It takes teamwork to get anything done,” said Ed Barbee, the construction liaison of the Transportation Department.
Barbee explained that the project’s contractor, Blythe Construction, has a private meeting each week with utility companies, Town of Mount Pleasant staff and a representative from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). During this meeting they address all project updates and issues together to ensure things are moving along. Since Coleman Boulevard is a state road, the SCDOT has final approval of plans for the road. These plans were approved prior to any construction being done, according to Barbee.
Here’s what you can expect when the Coleman Boulevard Improvement project is complete:
- There is no roundabout planned. Initially, one was planned at the Chuck Dawley and Ben Sawyer Intersection. Lykins said that due to lack of funding, they didn’t have enough for a roundabout.
- There will be left-turn opportunities at key locations and u-turn opportunities will be provided at the traffic signals.
- The Coleman project includes a new traffic signal at Pherigo and Vincent along Coleman Boulevard. They will dig the foundations for the signal after Christmas and install them in the spring. This light should be operational by late spring or early summer 2019.
- Also, although it’s outside of the zone, a traffic signal is planned at the Center Street and Ben Sawyer intersection. This is part of a different intersection upgrade project. The Town currently has a contractor in place to install that signal. The steel mast poles for the signal are expected to be delivered sometime early 2019.
- Steel plates along Coleman are temporary. There is a lot of work going on at night for the project. When workers finish a night’s work, they may not be ready to fill in the hole yet. They may have to get back to the job the next night, so they cover the hole with steel plates. As they finish work within each hole, they will patch it and remove the steel plates.
- There won’t be any more street parking added to Coleman Boulevard. On-street parking was removed from the project plans by town council.
- Bike lanes will be added. The project goals are to make the area bike and pedestrian friendly with sidewalks and bike lanes.
- There will be a bus stop in front of Moultrie Middle School. There will be a parking area for a police officer to conduct traffic during high beat activities, such as the farmers market.
- The project includes a median on Coleman Boulevard from Middle Street to Fairmont Ave. There will be breaks in the median to access businesses, residences and restaurants.
- Updated lighting is being installed throughout the area.
- Landscaping will be done on both sides and to the median of Coleman Boulevard.
The Town of Mount Pleasant posts regular traffic and project updates online. If you want to stay up to date with news from the Town regarding this project, visit: tompsc.com/854/Coleman-Boulevard-Improvement-Projects and sign up for Notify Me alerts at Town of Mount Pleasant’s website.