AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — The South Carolina Department of Transportation project to improve a stretch of highway in Aiken is behind schedule.

“We are pushing the DOT and the contractor to get this project completed as soon as possible,” Senator Tom Young told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Originally, it was a city of Aiken project to widen the highway. “There was a lot of pushback in the community, and the city council changed the scope of the project from a capacity project to a quarter of improvement project in the fall or late summer of 2013.”

Hitchcock Parkway Corridor Improvement Project will have traffic and safety improvements, including new turning lanes and traffic lights along of highway from Jefferson Davis Highway to Silver Bluff Road. “Two of them along the quarter. Um, there are turning lanes at all the intersections that are being added, and the public wanted a multi-use path, which would run from Huntsman Drive back to Silver Bluff,” he shared.

The project was supposed to be finished late 2022. Several challenges caused it to be delayed, including utilities and subcontractors. “The contractor had a storm drain subcontractor that walked off the job and quit,” Senator Young shared. “There were federal procurement laws that had to be followed in order to replace that subcontractor. They have assured me that they now have a new storm drain contractor in place.” he added.

Crews now working on the bike path, traffic light installation, and storm drain systems. Now, the project is expected to be completed in late fall 2023. “What I am hopeful is that it will be sometime by mid to late August, or certainly by Labor Day at the beginning of September,” he shared.