What’s the status of the Dave Lyle Blvd. extension?

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By Chris Sardelli

Lancaster County Council met with York County Council last week to discuss possibilities for a future extension of Dave Lyle Boulevard.

At the meeting at the Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill, council members listened to several studies involving the potential construction of an extension to Dave Lyle Boulevard.

The extension would provide a link between Interstate 77 and U.S. 521 as an alternate route south of Charlotte.

Lancaster County and York County each contributed $75,000 to the study, which examined land and economic impacts of the proposed 9-mile road.

The presentation included findings about the economic impact from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business and a land-use evaluation conducted by Clemson University.

“This was all something that was proposed years and years and years ago, but we wanted to do some new studies,” said Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis. “We didn’t want it where a developer does the study. We wanted an independent study.”

Based on a cost-estimate study, York County would be responsible for a 5.2-mile stretch of the road, which would cost around $93.7 million. Lancaster County would be responsible for 3.8 miles of the road at a cost of more than $71 million. The total cost would be $165 million.

“We wanted to find the efficacy or the economic impact of this extension,” said Fred Thomas, Lancaster County Council chairman.

Thomas said the next step is for Lancaster County Council to consider a joint application with York County Council for project funding through the State Infrastructure Bank.

If both councils pass resolutions, they will submit that application to the State Infrastructure Bank. This bank is used for projects that require funding of $100 million or more.

“It may be a matter of us just getting in line,” Thomas said. “The fiscal impact of doing the application is zero. That’s why we’re attempting to move forward with this.”

Both Willis and Thomas agree that even if an application is made, funding will still be a sticky point. With a projected cost of more than $160 million, and dwindling state funds, there will most likely be more discussion about the project.

“Nobody has the money yet for something like this, but by putting our name in the pot, maybe in three to four years, it could work and the council could decide then,” Willis said.

Thomas said Lancaster County’s recent classification as the third-fastest growing county in the state could potentially help with receiving funding for the extension.

“We were third, York was first. We’re the fastest-growing part of the state. Columbia understands this, DOT (the state Department of Transportation) knows this, the Commerce Department is aware of this, and I think it could have an effect on when money is allocated,” Thomas said.

Thomas has heard from several residents who wondered why council would consider the extension, especially if it comes at the expense of proposed widenings for S.C. 160 or S.C. 5.

He said the Dave Lyle Boulevard project would use money funded through the State Infrastructure Bank, a separate fund than the one that could be used for the widening projects.

“I agree with residents that Highway 5 is treacherous and we lose lots of lives there, and that something needs to be done about both roads,” Thomas said. “The monies to do either of the projects are in separate pots.”

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416