Route 104 Construction Continues on Schedule — Work Should Be Complete by October

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Construction barricades line the shoulder of South Shore Road at Guinea Gut.

Contractor V.I. Paving continues to make steady progress on the complete overhaul of Gifft Hill and South Shore Roads, and work is expected to be completed by the contract’s closing date, October 10.

Workers are currently finishing up installing box culverts on South Shore Road near the Westin Resort, and will soon be installing pipe culverts on the first switchback east of Chocolate Hole.

The new culverts are an important part of the project, which aims to both fix the potholes which plague Route 104, and prevent future potholes from cropping up. Culverts, swales and drains will direct running water away from the road’s surface, preserving the roadway and drastically reducing the amount of damage often seen on Gifft Hill and South Shore roads during heavy rains.

To that end, crews have also been paving driveways along Route 104 and even the Gifft Hill School’s lower school parking lot, explained Department of Public Works Materials Program Manager Thomas Jones.

“We’ve had water actually running on to people’s property right off the road, and we’re trying to eliminate that,” he said. “We also paved the parking lot at the school. The government is not typically in the practice of maintaining private properties, but because of the drainage issues, it was something we had to do so the new roadway wouldn’t be compromised.”

“I take drainage very seriously,” Jones added.

Once the pipe culverts are installed at the South Shore Road switchback east of Chocolate Hole, crews will then focus on leveling to ensure the roadway will guide running water to the new swales and drains. There is also a good deal of road damage near Virgin Grand Estates which needs to be repaired, and a sidewalk complete with handrails will be constructed from the Westin Resort to Greenleaf Commons.

Workers also must raise manholes and water valves before the final coat of asphalt can be applied.

The 2.8 mile-long project, which runs from the Susannaberg Transfer Station on Gifft Hill Road to the Pine Peace playground on South Shore Road, is expected to cost around $4 million and is being funded by money from the federal economic stimulus package. Work began in October 2009, and DPW anticipates the road reconstruction will take a year to complete.

Motorists can expect one-way traffic directed by flaggers or stoplights as work continues.