Trees in deadliest areas of I-26 to be cut down - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Trees in deadliest areas of I-26 to be cut down

Posted: Updated:
SUMMERVILLE, SC - In a meeting Monday morning with Berkeley, Dorchester, Charleston Counties of Government a narrow decision was made to adapt a plan by the Department of Transportation that would eliminate some trees along Interstate 26.


The median of Interstate 26 from exit 199 in Summerville to exit 169 near Interstate 95 currently has countless pine trees and is blamed for 44 fatalities during a study from 2007-2011. The SCDOT began discussing possibly removing the trees after data showed that the stretch of road is one of the deadliest in the state.

The plan, which passed 14 to 13 votes, means 17 miles of trees will stay and about seven miles of trees get the ax in hopes of saving lives.

According to a presentation by the Department of Transportation, the number of crashes along the corridor is nearly eight times the state average. The number of fatalities is nearly 20% higher than average. The most common cause of those accidents is driving too fast for conditions.

"People are doing those things all over America on interstates but what's happening is people losing their lives at high rates here on I-26 coming into Charleston and exiting Charleston," Greg Elmore said. Elmore's son lost his life years ago near mm 183.

Some, however, disagree with getting rid of them.

"These trees help connect this entire area, but also it's important aesthetically," Natalie Olson said. "It's a very iconic gateway into the Lowcountry."

Olson works with the Coastal Conservation League, one of the main agencies wanting  the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments (BCD COD) to vote to keep the trees in place and adding cables to protect drivers from crashing.

The plan the state agency recommends is cutting down 17 miles of trees in the median and placing cables along the remaining seven miles. That plan costs around $5.3 million.


"To save lives, expense should not be a consideration, and removing all of the trees isn't going to fix the problem," she said. "The problem is the steep slope [along the side of the road], so even if the trees are going to be removed, accidents are still going to happen."

  • Accident between train and car in North Charleston, closes East Montague Ave

    Accident between train and car in North Charleston, closes East Montague Ave

    Accident between train and car in North Charleston, closes East Montague Ave

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:34 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:34:43 GMT
    Crews with the North Charleston Police Department are on scene of a vehicle vs train accident on East Montague Avenue and Gaynor Street.According to Charleston County dispatch, crews received the call at 6:32am.We have a crew headed to the scene and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
    Crews with the North Charleston Police Department are on scene of a vehicle vs train accident on East Montague Avenue and Gaynor Street.According to Charleston County dispatch, crews received the call at 6:32am.We have a crew headed to the scene and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
  • Rising sea levels could threaten $6 billion of property in the Lowcountry

    Rising sea levels could threaten $6 billion of property in the Lowcountry

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 3:37 AM EDT2014-08-27 07:37:31 GMT
    Experts predict that rising seas will bring floods threatening nearly $6 billion worth of property in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
    Experts predict that rising seas will bring floods threatening nearly $6 billion worth of property in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
  • USC Increasing Patrols After Crimes; Armed Robbery Suspect Arrested

    USC Increasing Patrols After Crimes; Armed Robbery Suspect Arrested

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 3:28 AM EDT2014-08-27 07:28:21 GMT
    40-year-old Kevin O’Neal was arrested Tuesday as a suspect in an armed robbery on USC’s Horseshoe last week.40-year-old Kevin O’Neal was arrested Tuesday as a suspect in an armed robbery on USC’s Horseshoe last week.
    The University of South Carolina is increasing patrols by campus police after four crimes in a week, three on campus and one just on the edge.
    The University of South Carolina is increasing patrols by campus police after four crimes in a week, three on campus and one just on the edge.
Powered by WorldNow

210 W. Coleman Blvd.
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Telephone: 843.216.4875
Fax: 843.881.3410
Email: news@wcbd.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.