A shortcut around road work on James Island has created a hazardous situation for patrons of a busy commercial center, some residents said.

“There’s no rhyme or reason because everybody is just cutting through. I almost got hit a few minutes ago,” said Dawn Nosal.

The state Department of Transportation is constructing an intersection improvement project at Dills Bluff and Camp roads where stores, restaurants and Town Hall are located in a strip mall. Drivers turn into the shopping center and cut through its parking lot to navigate around a blocked section of Dill’s Bluff.

Rhonda Weatherford, manager of Jimmy’s Island Treasures, said school buses use the short cut, too. She said the parking lot detour brings more traffic past Jimmy’s but she complained about noise and screeching tires.

“The parking lot is a mess. The traffic in the parking lot is horrendous,” Weatherford said.

Town of James Island Administrator Ashley Kellahan said the situation is dangerous. “It’s just a lot of cars coming through,” she said.

DOT spokesman James Law said drivers whose use the parking lot as a short cut are not following the official detour route for the project, which he said is Fort Johnson Road.

“We don’t ever send traffic through private property. Those people are just taking that on themselves,” Law said.

Law said the work to make the intersection safer will be finished in about 10 days. It includes installation of a traffic light and new turn lanes, he said.

The project was stalled on Nov. 26 when a water main break occurred near the intersection that spewed thousands of gallons and disrupted service to nearby homes and businesses. Law said the water leak washed out an area under the road, which stopped work that resumes Friday.

A contractor for the James Island Public Service District was working to replace corroded sewer pipe when the water line was damaged, the Charleston Water System said.

The PSD learned there was a problem with its sewer pipe when it followed up on a report of sinking ground at the work site, said PSD Manager Robert Wise.

About 200 feet of sewer pipe is being replaced, he said.

At the request of the water system, the PSD contractor on Wednesday night installed a new valve on the water main.

“This is a precautionary measure that will allow us to isolate the section of pipe under the intersection if needed without affecting any customers’ water service,” CWS spokeswoman Jenny Craft said in an e-mail.