ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – State and local leaders now have a clearer idea of the future of the Isle of Palms Connector and what it could look like. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) conducted a study early this year by presenting five possible traffic-flow options for the IOP Connector. More than three thousand people responded and picked a clear favorite.
Most of those who responded to the survey picked the plan to move the bike and pedestrian lane to the south side of the bridge and add two lanes traveling off Isle of Palms headed to Mount Pleasant. IOP Mayor Phillip Pounds says he’s excited about where the process is and what’s to come.
“You know it’s just been a really good collaborative effort with SCDOT, and they delivered on their promise to bring this back to us, and you know, let us digest it,” says Mayor Pounds.
SCDOT delivered more than three thousand responses from the survey, and just under half of the respondents were Isle of Palms residents. Most people agree the current configuration of the Connector needs to change.
“There’s been a lot of energy and conversation around this bridge and the structure of it and what might work best for folks,” says Mayor Pounds. “So no, I was not surprised at all with the volume of responses.”
Some people say they’d like to see the bridge reverted to its original configuration, but it’s not one of the options currently considered. City council received five options last December that would keep the bridge the same, swap the bike and pedestrian path or add two lanes heading off the island.
“You know again, I would probably say there are three main options if you will,” says Mayor Pounds. “The current configuration, the bike-pedestrian bridge on one side or the other and then two lanes off in the last option,” says Mayor Pounds.
Concept Five, adding two outbound lanes leaving IOP was the most popular choice among survey respondents. The option received some criticism from City Council in December for its lack of an obvious emergency lane. Regardless, Mayor Pounds says more work is needed.
“You know engineer out, price out, and just make sure from a logistics standpoint whichever option we pick would work,” says Mayor Pounds. “There would be some required changes obviously on both sides of the bridge, kind of no matter which option you end up going with.”
With beach season just around the corner, Mayor Pounds says any changes will likely have to wait until after the summer, but he says it’s important to keep moving the project forward.
“IOP is going to move fairly quickly in adopting a resolution to let the SCDOT know what our preference is,” says Mayor Pounds. “I’m hopeful Mount Pleasant will do the same. You know, then the ball will be back in the SCDOT’s court to take their next steps.”
Isle of Palms City Council will discuss the survey results and study conducted by SCDOT during a special city council workshop meeting next Tuesday. Mayor Pounds expects city council to pass a resolution at its regular city council meeting later this month, endorsing one of the five options.