LAKE WYLIE — Work continues toward major improvements on one Lake Wylie roadway, but the exact layout hasn’t been determined.
At almost $26 million, the Pole Branch Road project was the most expensive of more than a dozen listed in last year’s $161 million Pennies for Progress road improvement plan. York County Council approved a design contract in August, and the planning phase began last month on the 2.4-mile stretch from Three Points up S.C. 274 and then 279 to the Gaston County line.
That August contract approved up to $3.34 million for Mead & Hunt. A project leader with the company said the design group is still in the “preliminary stages.” Intersection alignments still have to be worked out with the county.
The county plan is to widen S.C. 274 from two lanes to five. Pole Branch Road will be widened from its intersection at S.C. 274 to the state line. A traffic study will determine whether it’s three lanes or five, and the decision “may be influenced” by news of the Garden Parkway north of the project, according to information from county engineers.
Three bridges are involved. One spans 160 feet over Mill Creek. The other two cover tributaries, at about 30 feet. The longer and at least one shorter bridge likely will be replaced, while one shorter bridge may be widened. It’s anticipated, according to county engineers, that “minor changes” to the vertical and horizontal roadway alignments will be needed.
The $16.75 estimated construction cost is based on a five-lane curb and gutter design.
As intersection and other specifics wait, one Lake Wylie group hopes work done in the environmentally sensitive area won’t affect more than traffic. Coves, wetlands and shoreline on both sides of Mill Creek have been “negatively impacted numerous times” before, said Ellen Goff with Lake Wylie Covekeepers.
“Home building, clear cutting large tracts and super-store construction – even the road construction that widened the Highway 274 bridge to its current size – all contributed to the sedimentation of the creek,” she said.
Goff is hopeful work done near Mill Creek will be less intrusive than a recent widening over Big Allison Creek, where sediment entered the creek.
“This can have a serious, environmental impact on Mill Creek and multiple feeder streams,” Goff said. “We must remain vigilant.”