By Blake Bunch
Exiting the causeway onto Sullivan’s Island, motorists have very few options. They can turn left at Myrtle Avenue, Jasper Avenue, or Middle Street and continue on towards Isle of Palms, or they can turn right at Middle – or earlier onto “short” Myrtle or Jasper – and head right towards the southeast end of Sullivan’s Island. This is all well understood, and most commute this route every day.
Over the past few years, however, it’s become evident that a number of Sullivan’s Island’s streets are in dire need of refurbishment, and specifically, Middle Street. This concern was addressed during the November 16 Sullivan’s Island Town Council meeting, with discussions focusing on the intersection of Station 22 ½ and Middle Street; the main intersection entering the island. After much deliberation, “Council decided to submit a request to SCDOT (South Carolina Department of Transportation) not to place a three-way stop [at the intersection], but they will eliminate the eastbound lane toward the Isle of Palms[on Middle Street],” said Town Administrator, Andy Benke.
Several other streets and maintenance projects will be beginning shortly on the island, said Benke, who noted that the projects are under the jurisdiction of SCDOT and will be contracted through Banks Construction. The work will include the area between Station 22 ½ and Station 12 along Middle Street. “This work will mainly involve the resurfacing of Middle Street, but will include some storm water and sidewalk repair, as well as curb and gutter enhancements,” said Benke.
He further stated that Banks Construction will be mobilizing materials and equipment this week, and that the Town will allow them to use Station 17 and Middle Street while they are working on this project. “The initial work will be to repair a number of storm water collection pipes that cross Middle Street,” said Benke. “Likewise, curb and gutter work along with the sidewalk improvements to meet ADA requirements, will be done at this time.”
In regards to the Station 22 ½ and Middle St. intersection, Benke stated that, “The Town does not own the road, SCDOT does. They then make all decisions in regards to engineering, and we are expecting a response for our request soon.”
This construction will continue for several months, so it is very important for motorists and islanders to be cautious of road workers, or any other situations that may result from these changes. It will take patience, but the good part is that the construction is not occurring during the heavy tourist traffic season.