Sophia Taylor feels a little safer riding to and from school, now that a new road has helped eliminate traffic hazards of crossing over three lanes of speeding cars.

“It makes me feel more happy that mom isn’t so stressed out that she’s going to hit somebody,” said Taylor, a third grader at St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Bluffton.

The new frontage road, named St. Gregory Drive, runs past her school, parallel to Hwy. 278 from the entrance to Berkeley Hall to the west and Bluffton Township Fire Station 35 to the east.

The road opened in late August, and a blessing of the road was held Sept. 9 to celebrate. Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, was on hand to administer the blessing. “This road is important,” he said, “because more people will be able to use it to get to this place where they will get close to God, and get here safely. This is truly a road to the Lord.”

Monsignor Ronald R. Cellini of St. Gregory said, “This looks like a simple road, but it wasn’t simple. It was an act of God.”

In attendance were state, local and county officials, including State Sen. Tom Davis; Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka; Bluffton Town Manager Marc Orlando; Josh Gruber, Beaufort County Deputy Administrator; County Council members Jerry Stewart, Cynthia Bensch, and Tabor Vaux; and Beaufort County traffic engineer Colin Kinton.

Davis said of the combined efforts to construct the alternate roadway “At the end of the day, we came up with a solution that worked for all parties.”

School officials said they are particularly grateful to Davis and Gary Kubic, Beaufort County Administrator, along with John Thompson, Bluffton Township Fire Chief, and the leadership of Berkeley Hall, especially manager Adrian Morris, for their time and efforts.

The long-awaited completion of the road comes after 10 years of planning, negotiations and discussions that were sometimes contentious.

But as Msgr. Cellini said after the ceremony, “It brought us all closer together. It was a wonderful incident that turned out beautifully. And we all were patient and kind.”

And for that, Sophia Taylor – along with a host of other students and parents and parishioners – is grateful.