MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – There’s controversy over the Billy Swails Boulevard Project that Mount Pleasant leaders say, would ease some of the traffic on Highway 17.

With Highway 17 sometimes creating a sea of headlights in Mount Pleasant, town leaders say they expect cars on the roads to double within the next 20 years.

“By 2040 we predict there will be over 90,000 vehicles a day,” says Paul Lykins, the Deputy Director of Engineering and Development Services for the Town of Mount Pleasant.

That’s why Mount Pleasant town leaders and the South Carolina Department of Transportation are finalizing their plans in the Billy Swails Boulevard project, which will serve as an alternate route through Mount Pleasant to alleviate traffic off of Highway 17 and Rifle Range Road.

“We built several phases of Hungry Neck, then we built Sweetgrass Basket Parkway. This is the missing link, the final segment of that,” says Lykins.

Town leaders say the anticipated project is a two-lane divided roadway that will create turn lanes and bike and pedestrian lanes, without impacting homes or neighborhoods. The project is expected to cost around $14 million and construction will start July 2023.

“We don’t impact any residential structures. We come close to a few neighborhoods, but there are no commercial or residential impacts nobody loses their home,” says Lykins.

Some Mount Pleasant residents say as this project helps traffic conditions as the area grows, their biggest concerns are wildlife and safety conditions.

“There are all kinds of wildlife that exists in that area. You need to be aware when you do this construction, you got wildlife,” says one concerned resident.

“I’m afraid this might be another speedway, because that’s the way it is around here,” says another concerned resident.

Residents can submit their commits regarding the project on the Town of Mount Pleasant’s website until February 9th.