MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials with the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) are preparing to hear from those living near I-526 and commuters about possible changes coming to the Lowcountry East Corridor from North Charleston to Mount Pleasant.
SCDOT will hold public meetings on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week to get feedback on proposed changes to one of the state’s busiest highways. The plans could include replacing two major bridges along the route.
The Don Holt Bridge and Wando River Bridge could be completely replaced as part of the Lowcounty East Corridor improvement project. The goal is to improve traffic performance across the board on I-526 and the public will get their chance to weigh in this week.
State officials say it’s a comprehensive plan to unclog one of South Carolina’s busiest highways while better preparing the area for continued growth and increased traffic.
“We really just want to show people some of these early findings, this is really a planning study so these aren’t actual projects yet but they will probably soon become projects,” says Joy Riley, Project Manager for the SCDOT.
The plan could widen the two bridges or replace them all together. The SCDOT has developed a handful of potential solutions from various studies which will be available for review at the public meetings.
“Some of the traffic study results, some of the potential conceptual improvements that we would potentially consider developing as a project on that corridor,” says Riley.
The two meetings serving as the first chance for people to voice their opinions to state officials on the Lowcountry East Corridor improvement project. Riley says SCDOT has an idea of what to expect when it comes to concerns with the plan.
“Noise is the absolute number one concern and that’s definitely something that will be studied in the next phase of work,” says Riley. “Also truck traffic, big issue.”
Riley says several studies and ample feedback from those living nearby and daily commuters are needed to determine the best route forward.
“Anytime that we need additional lanes we have to look at those bridge structures and determine whether they can be widened or if it makes more sense because of their lack of useful life to go ahead and replace them,” says Riley.
The projects are estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars with construction taking place over several years. Officials say improvement work on the bridges and along interchanges is needed across the board to keep the Lowcountry moving forward into the future.
“Widening the corridor that we’re talking about on the east side you know we would really need to get that interchange fixed before we go out and widen so it’s a little further down the road,” says Riley.
Tuesday’s public meeting will be held in Mount Pleasant from 5-7 PM at the R. L. Jones Center located at 391 Egypt Road. A second meeting will take place in North Charleston on Wednesday, October 27th from 5-7 PM at the Felix C. Davis Community Center located at 4800 Park Circle, North Charleston. CARTA Routes 13 and 104 can be used to attend Wednesday’s meeting in North Charleston.
You can also provide feedback on the plan virtually through December 1st. More information on the public meetings, improvement proposals and virtual meeting can be found here.