The S.C. Subcommittee of the Augusta Regional Transportation Study will receive an update on conceptual designs widening the Hitchcock Parkway next week.

The meeting is open to the public, and will be held on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 4 p.m. in the Sandlapper Room on the first floor of the new Aiken County Government Center.

The last Augusta Regional Transportation Study meeting was held in May, and many residents voiced concerns about the cost and time frame of the proposed widening.

Currently, the estimated cost of the long-term project submitted by the S.C. Department of Transportation is $34.6 million.

The time frame of the project is still under consideration, and itís yet to be determined whether the project will be split into phases or completed at the same time.

Current conceptual plans show SCDOT narrowed the width of the 5- to 6-mile route and included separate multi-use paths with sidewalks and 14-foot shared-use lanes. Plans also show a reduced width of the center median, the addition of retaining walls in certain areas and reduction in the right-of-way impact.

Kevin Gantt with SCDOT said since the public information meeting in December 2013, the project is moving forward in the design phase with the majority of the projectís comments being in favor of widening.

Also since then, SCDOT gave direction to its consultant to design the project with respect to findings of the ongoing environmental assessment, review and acknowledgment of public comment, City of Aiken input and direction from the Augusta Regional Transportation Study.

Gantt also said SCDOT actively responded to requests from residents and homeowners associations along the projectís corridor to answer questions.

A public hearing to look over the updated designs is tentatively scheduled for early 2015.

The Aiken County Government Center is located at 1930 University Parkway. Individuals are asked to park in the buildingís rear lot and take the elevator down to the first floor.

Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard.