NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – After nearly 51 years, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) staff members say they are confident the Mark Clark Expansion Project will come to fruition. On Thursday, the SCDOT Project Management team and Charleston County joined together to showcase their preferred plan and pathway during a special media presentation.
The preferred plan, “Alternative G” was posted online Wednesday so community members could get a look ahead of time. Those News 2 spoke with say they still see issues
Rich Thomas, a Johns Island Resident and supporter of Nix 526 says he still believes if the Mark Clark Extension is built, it will cause more to flood the same areas they are working to fix, “pretty soon those roads are completely overwhelmed.”
Out of 39 alternative plans, the SCDOT settled on “Alternative G”. The 9.5-mile-long extension project still connects I-526 at Savannah Highway in West Ashely to John’s Island and ties into the James Island Expressway.
SCDOT’s hope for the project since its last main debut in 2010 is to increase connectivity in the area.
We did listen to the public, we made a lot of changes related to the alignment—where things are. The alternative that came from that is a parkway concept. So the public spoke, people were really in favor of that parkway, it changed then and morphed into this.Jae H. Mattox, SCDOT Project Manager
Other benefits of Alternative G according to Jae Mattox, the Project Manager of ten years will be shorter travel distances, less congestion, fewer noise impacts, fewer wetland impacts, and fewer relocations.
In the new alternative, a total of 7 businesses and 13 residences will be impacted. However, 5 of those residences have already been acquired by the SCDOT.
Mattox says on the issue of relocations, “Alternative G has been in the public’s eye for the last couple of years, so we reached out to some of those or they’ve actually reached out to some of us”.
SCDOT estimated the cost of the project to be 725 million in 2019 dollars, they say an actual amount will come ahead of their 2024 expected construction start date.
The Nix 526 community estimating the cost is still driven too far up for them to support.
To be spending that kind of money on basically a 4-lane low speed parkway just makes no sense.Rich Thomas, Nix 526
SCDOT will hold an online public comment period through October 15th for the Mark Clark Extension Project and two in-person community meetings and one in-person hearing will be held between August and September.
The first will be on August 31, 2021at Hart Meadows Ranch on Johns Island (2837 Edenvale Road), the second will be on September 1, 2021 – Edisto Hall at James Island County Park (871 Riverland Drive). Both meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
For more on the Mark Clark Extension and Public Hearings, click here.