In a Post and Courier article by Molly Parker, the new 1-26 Extension Plans have been laid out.
August 4th is when the new construction of an extra two lanes for Interstate 26 will begin. These new lanes will be placed in the section of the interstate between I-526 and Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston.
Taxpayers are expected to pay roughly 66 million dollars for the project which will be well worth it, especially for those who live in Summerville, North Charleston and the Goose Creek/Moncks Corner area who have to drive into downtown Charleston or Mt. Pleasant or other areas in the eastern part of the region. There will be traffic delays during the construction but their plan is to do the bulk of the work at night. Construction should be completed by 2011 as they predict that each of the three miles that they are widening will take about a year to construct.
Another project in the works for the area is the improvement of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, a part of Highway 17 that runs through Mt. Pleasant.
With the use of the half-cent sales tax revenue, the town plans to widen the road from four lanes to six from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to the Mark Clark Expressway which should cost around $100 million when its all said and done, according to reporter Molly Parker.
There is also a plan in the works to create a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly Johnnie Dodds by restructuring the frontage roads that currently run alongside the highway.
According to Molly’s artle other projects in Mt. Pleasant include:
“-A $50 million S.C. DOT project to build an overpass connecting Interstate 526 to Hungryneck Boulevard, allowing commuters to cross U.S. Highway 17 without stopping at a traffic light. The intersection of I-526 and U.S. 17 is one the townâ€™s busiest.
-The extension of Hungryneck Boulevard, which runs parallel to U.S. 17, from the Isle of Palms connector to Six Mile Road.
-The widening of U.S. 17 in northern Mount Pleasant from four lanes to six on the stretch of road from the Isle of Palms connector to the Park West Estates community.”
The Mark Clark Expressway extension will also aid in the area’s traffic woes. However, with a price tag of $420 million the S.C. DOT proposal is not as popular as some would hope. The plan is to extend I-526 “from Savannah Highway near the Citadel Mall through Johns Island and James Island, connecting to the James Island connector at Folly Road.” However, this plan is only in its beginning stages as its impact on the environment is currently being assessed. Many feel that this extension will only increase the already heavy traffic in the area.
According to Parker’s article, there was a recent report by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments that ranked Maybank Highway’s stretch between Woodland Shores to Bohicket Road as the areaâ€™s most overtaxed roadway. “In a 24-hour period, the highwayâ€™s average volume is almost double its intended capacity, the report shows.”
The city looked at widening the Highway using the half-cent sales tax but now there is new plan in the works that contains a proposed grid network of new roads on Johns Island.
There was also a plan for the James Island Connector to have a “loop” connected to it to revert traffic heading to Folly Beach from downtown Charleston straight to the beach and thus alleviating traffic on James Island. This plan has been squashed and now James Island officials are looking at alternative ways to alleviate James Island’s traffic issues.
Other projects in the works include:
The Palmetto Commerce Parkway is a proposal for a road connecting College Park and Ashley Phosphate in North Charleston.
Plans for widening Harbor View Road on James Island from two lanes to three between North Shore and Mikell which will include a bike path and a sidewalk for pedestrians.
There are also plans for a pedestrian bridge that will cross Folly Road at South Windermere along the West Ashley Greenway.
On Bees Ferry Road officials would like to widen the section that is only two lanes to four lanes and divide it by a median. This plan will also keep pedestrians and bikers in mind.
Bee Street and Courtenay Drive “are slated for infrastructure improvements to provide easier access to the Medical University of South Carolina.”
Other areas that are in need of improvement include :Glenn McConnell Parkway at Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley, Maybank Highway at Folly Road on James Island , U.S. Highway 17 at S.C. Highway 61 in Mount Pleasant and Folly Road at Camp Road on James Island.