Gardens Interchange? Gateway to Combahee Ferry Historic District??

US-17, Gardens Corner, Beaufort County, SC – June 26, 2010

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US-17 widening: 8 miles, $80 million

These images show the southwestern terminus of the highway widening project.  The northeastern terminus, a bridge over the Combahee River, is a fascinating footnote to the project.  This article in The State by Wayne Washington, published nearly five years ago, details a historical find during environmental screening before construction: a ferry used by Harriet Tubman in 1863 to lead a force that freed 700 slaves. 

This site is near the geographic center and bottleneck of the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a program of the National Park Service. (Learn more here.)  This is a great opportunity to erect interpretive information and raise awareness of the corridor and its significance.  The location has been the foot of a Combahee River bridge for a long time; remnants of a suspected pontoon bridge and Confederate earthworks also exist here.  SC DOT’s proposal to acknowledge this history appears here on its website.

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