Walterboro prepares for next piece of the Loop
by The Press and Standard | January 24, 2019 5:00 pm
Last Updated: January 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm
The bids for the next phase of Walterboro’s Loop Project are due Jan. 24.
The next phase will be on Jefferies Boulevard between Elizabeth Street and Benson Street, an 1,100-feet portion of the roadway that includes the Colleton County Courthouse, access to Walterboro’s downtown area and the currently under-construction Discovery Center for the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary.
“It is the most involved. In a relatively small area, we are going to be installing mast arms (for a new traffic light system), a new fountain at Jefferies Boulevard and Washington Street (on the corner of the Colleton County Courthouse grounds), new crosswalks and new lighting,” Walterboro City Manager Jeff Molinari said.
That work will also see a widening of the Jefferies Boulevard sidewalk at the courthouse and a flat divider between the north and south bound lanes.
A milling of the existing pavement on Jefferies Boulevard, followed by new paving, is also part of the project.
The intersection of Jefferies Boulevard and Washington Street will see a new roadway treatment. That intersection will be paved with bricks.
Molinari anticipates that construction will begin in the first quarter of 2019.
The contractors seeking to take on the streetscape project on Jefferies Boulevard between Elizabeth Street and Benson Street will submit their bids to the Colleton County’s Capital Projects and Purchasing Department.
Molinari said the city is using the county department to handle the bid process for several reasons, including the fact that the county has a full-time engineer on staff to assist in reviewing the bids.
Molinari pointed out that the city usually handles its own bidding process. When the city sought bids for the earlier Loop Project construction on South Jefferies, the Lowcountry Council of Governments handled the bidding process because a Community Development Block Grant, obtained through the assistance of LCOG, was used to provide much of the money for that construction phase.
Much of the money for the work between Elizabeth Street and Benson Street will come from the Capital Project Sales Tax allocation dedicated to the city’s loop project.
In addition to between $800,000-$900,000 in Capital Project Sales Tax proceeds, the city will use a $400,000 in federal enhancement funds provided by the South Carolina Department of Transportation and $100,000 from the Colleton Transportation Commission.
When the county took the question of implementing a one-cent sales tax to the voters in November of 2014, the ballot referendum had to include a list of Capital Projects where the tax revenue would be used.
The city’s Loop Project had the biggest price tax with $6,646,947 in sales tax revenue allocated to the Loop Project, which will eventually provide an improved streetscape between the entire stretch of road from Exit 53 to Exit 57 of I-95.
Molinari said later this year the city anticipates issuing another Loop Project contract that will cover all the remaining streetscape work between Exit 53 and the intersection of North Jefferies Boulevard and Bells Highway.
Molinari said issuing one contract that will cover all the rest of the work on Snider’s Highway and Jefferies Boulevard at one time, Molinari said, “should produce some economy of sale.” That translates into an overall lower cost.
That phase will be “paid exclusively out of the sales tax,” Molinari said.
The plans have already been submitted to the South Carolina Department of Transportation for review, he added.