526 completion is coming, but still years away

Reality Check
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The biggest question since the I-526 completion project was originally approved, is how Charleston County would pay its portion. County Council Chairman Elliott Summey says that is not a question anymore.

“There will be plenty of money to pay our portion for 526, and fund the other projects in the pipeline for the half cent sales tax”, Summey said. “This in not an ‘either/or’ situation. Those projects will also be done as planned.”

There is also the possibility of federal money to offset some of the $305M the county will have to pay.

Despite this progress and the new deal between the State Infrastructure Bank and Charleston County sealed last week, Summey says we’re still years away from dirt moving. 

“We still have about a year left in the permitting process,” he said.

From there, lawsuits will dictate the pace of the project. 

Best case scenario would put cars on the completed portion of 526 in the mid to late 2020s.

It will also look much different than the current freeway Lowcountry drivers use. The extended portion of the Mark Clark Expressway will have a “parkway” look and speed. Speed limits will top out at 45 mph.

County presentations on this in the past noted an additional $100M to increase the speeds and make it more of a freeway.

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