Bower Parkway project to shut down traffic near Harbison

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The City of Columbia is making plans for a road project that will affect the way many of us get to stores, restaurants and movie theaters. But city officials say the work is absolutely necessary.

Bower Parkway runs through a large portion of the shopping and entertainment district off Harbison Boulevard, so it's good the city streets division did not have to get underway during the holiday shopping season.

A City of Columbia road crew filled in a few small potholes on Bower Parkway on Monday afternoon, but the heavily used road through a big section of the Harbison shopping area needs far more extensive work.

Parts of the pavement have buckled and crumbled due to poor drainage, and the pounding of 12,000 vehicles per day.

Now the city is taking action. "There's three areas that have to be totally re-built," said city spokesman Robert Sweatt. "The base underneath it has failed. And we'll go in and re-build that base. If we find moisture, we'll have to put in drains to get rid of that moisture, to make the base more stable for the new asphalt."

Starting in March, the city will close off and begin construction work on the first of three sections of the roadway.

The project has the potential to cause some significant disruption of the traffic flow. At one point, the city is going to shut off access from Harbison Boulevard turning onto Bower Parkway.

The city has already warned merchants, and will meet again with them a week from today. "They are concerned," said Sweatt. "This is a highly traveled road as you mentioned. For not only people traveling back and forth but for access to their businesses."

The reconstruction project is scheduled to take about two months, wrapping up at the end of April.

The first phase of the project will be located in the stretch of Bower Parkway roughly between the Publix and Petsmart. The city will be meeting with merchants a week from Monday to go over the plan.

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