U.S. Highway 17 bypass project ahead of schedule

Published 1:07 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

By Staff
You can’t say this about too many huge projects, but you can about the U.S. Highway 17 bypass: Construction is ahead of schedule, and the project is only slightly over budget.
According to the latest state Department of Transportation construction progress report, the bypass is 85.79 percent complete, more than 9 percent higher than was projected for this date. The project is currently running 3.53 percent over budget, according to the DOT.
The project has zoomed right along, even though pile driving ceased on Feb. 14 to protect specific species of fish as they swim upriver to spawn. Fortunately, pile driving is due to resume on Tuesday for the project’s 2.8-mile bridge component.
Given the speed of the project and the resumption of pile driving, Mark Mallett, project manager for Flatiron/United — the project’s contractor — believes the bypass may finish earlier than expected.
Let’s hope for good weather this summer and fall that will enable that to happen.
Construction on the $192 million project began in march 2007. The 6.8-mile bypass stretching from Price Road near Chocowinity to Springs Road in Washington, is the first highway project in Beaufort County to be constructed using the “design-build” method.
DOT has indicated that this particular method reduces a project’s completion time by contracting a single firm to simultaneously design and construct the project.
It seems to be working, and that’s heartening to see, especially given the magnitude of the bypass and the complexity of such an undertaking.
So, “Bravo!” to everyone involved, and let’s get this baby finished.