‘We got it right’
As cars and trucks motored around the new traffic circle at Seven Farms Drive and Daniel Island Drive last Friday morning, those responsible for the project gathered in a grassy area next to the intersection to celebrate its completion.
“We’re really pleased with this project and proud of this project,” stated Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb, the first official to take to the podium to speak at the event. “…Public safety and roads – we’ve been drilling this home. It’s critical to us.”
Berkeley County managed the three-month construction project, utilizing county staff and outside contractors Palmetto Sitework Services and Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering Inc. to complete the work, ahead of schedule and under budget. Funding for the $2.4 million initiative, which ultimately came in $900,000 under budget, was provided through the Berkeley County one-cent sales tax program.
“We think this will become a template for projects in the future,” noted Cribb, while encouraging citizens to continue supporting the penny sales tax initiative, which voters approved in 2008 and again in 2014.
Berkeley County Councilman Josh Whitley of Daniel Island noted he first began hearing about the troubled intersection when he moved to the island in 2010. But he did not get actively engaged in efforts to fix it until he was elected to council in 2015.
“There were safety concerns,” he said, referencing a child who was hit in the accident-prone intersection years ago while riding a bike. “And this project has had a lot of attention for a lot of years, to try to get it right. To try to get the safety right, to try to get the traffic flow improvement right, and I’m here to tell you, we…everybody who is gathered here today, we got it right.”
Whitley called out Palmetto Sitework Services in particular for the way the company limited disruptions to the community while construction was underway.
“This job was seamless,” said Whitley. “I did not receive one complaint from the community on the construction phase of this project on a major intersection.”
The efficiency with which the roundabout has been completed has drawn contrasting comparisons to the long-delayed phase one of the Clements Ferry Road widening project, which Whitley pointed out is being managed by SCDOT and not Berkeley County. Phase two, which could begin in late 2019, will be handled by the county.
“Ten years later we still haven’t opened Clements Ferry Road,” he said. “I think Berkeley County stepped up in a big way and proved to the public that we are capable of managing infrastructure projects with our good friends and the help of professionals and we can get things done. I do believe we will remember today and the opening of this roundabout as the example of Berkeley County leading a project, managing a project and delivering for the constituents.”
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg was also on hand to offer congratulatory remarks. The city is assisting the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association in creating a safety video about navigating the new traffic circle that will be distributed in the community.
“It takes all of us working together to make good things like this happen,” he said. “I used to live on Etiwan Park (Street) just around the corner for a number of years, and all my kids went to Bishop England, so I know what this corner was like…This is a great improvement for Daniel Island.”
Feedback on the traffic circle has been overwhelmingly positive, added Whitley.
“This is a huge success story,” he said.