Waiting for the federal approval postponed the highway 17 traffic relief project until next year, initially planned to start this summer

Highway 17 traffic relief project in Mount Pleasant initially planned to start this summer is postponed at least until next year.

According to the recent information, the reason for the delay of the project is the waiting on federal approval.

The Billy Swails Boulevard 4B extension will run parallel to Highway 17 and Rifle Range Road, relieving traffic congestion from Highway 17.

Project Manager Paul Lykins said that the project was set to start August 2021.

However, he says the project’s environmental assessment in still under review by the Federal Highway Administration, and they cannot begin design plans or construction until it’s approved.

Since the initial start date was postponed, Lykins believes they will get the approval as soon as possible in an effort to start the design process as early as next month, while the construction should begin in the spring months next year.

The idea for the project came after a study, that was conducted few years ago, showed that nearly 58,000 vehicles traveled along Highway 17 each day at the time when the study took place.

According to the study, the number of vehicles that travel along the highway will increase to 91,000 cars by 2040.

The town plans for the project to join the existing Sweetgrass Parkway on the west and the existing Billy Swails Boulevard to the east.

The cross-section connecting Highway 17 and Rifle Range Road is planned to have a two-lane divided roadway with a landscaped median, turn lanes and bike and pedestrian access.

Monica Doyle


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