MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Crews are working to make improvements to a major Charleston County highway. County officials say the upgrades will be a big victory for both drivers and nearby businesses, but the project has been met with opposition from some.
“Something has to be done absolutely, like expansion,” says local resident Carry White.
Highway 41, an already busy road running through a growing area of Mount Pleasant and Charleston County, could see as many as 55,000 cars traveling the corridor daily by 2045. As growth in the area continues, Cal Oyer who serves as project manager for the county, says officials want get ahead of the congestion.
“The purpose and need of the project is to be able to move that traffic and find a solution,” says Oyer.
Officials began discussions on possible improvements to the corridor in 2017, conducted several studies, and narrowed possible options to a final proposal, in accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act. ‘Alternative One’ is the proposal officials chose to move forward with for final approval by Charleston County.
The proposal would widen the existing Highway 41 to have two lanes running in each direction, as opposed to the existing single lane in each direction.
The Highway 17 and Highway 41 intersection would also be changed as part of the proposal. Changes to the intersection include adding a flyover to the northbound lane of Highway 17, adding a diverging diamond interchange to Highway 41, and connecting Winnowing Way to Highway 41.
“It is a priority in the corridor as it serves a growing population in the area and it serves as a major lifeline,” says Oyer.
If approved, the project aims to decrease congestion at the the Highway 17 and 41 intersection.
“It has lower travel times than the other alternative,” says Oyer. “It has higher average speeds, less delays as you go through the corridor.”
Some residents in the area have expressed concerns fearing they may be forced to move their home or business.
Oyer says the current plan would compensate anyone impacted by the widening project, and that “this alternative does not displace any people from their homes.”
Those traveling an already traffic-heavy Highway 41 on a regular basis, like Carry White, say they fear what congestion could look like if no changes are made to the busy corridor.
“A lot of the roads like (Highway) 17 is a beautiful road to travel on, and I think it would be nice improvement,” says White.
As the area is likely to continue in growth, White believes now is the time for the county to make improvements.
“I can’t tell you where we’re going to be in 2045, but with all the houses that I see coming and everything else, I would say yes,” says White.
A virtual meeting showing the specifications of the proposed project is available here, along with the opportunity for residents to provide feedback on the project.