Businesses, drivers glad Aviation Avenue opening

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Just in time for Memorial Day, traffic that was blocked along Aviation Avenue is now freely flowing. Businesses and offices along Aviation Avenue will now be reconnected to Rivers and South Aviation avenues.

Mayor Keith Summey came out to reopen the road and described the timing as "just perfect."

Mayor Summey says SCE&G will now have better access to open its office buildings in the area. Mayor Summey says the reopening of Aviation and I-26 ramps will be just in time for Boeing to open and have easy access.

"With 400 Boeing employees having come on the job in the last two weeks and they're going to be ramping up to 3800 employees, this is going to be a key component for that," Mayor Summey said.

"With it closed, it bottle necked real bad and caused a lot of problems with traffic. With that bridge being opened up, it will alleviate a lot of the problems on the interstate and on Rivers Avenue," said driver Richard Hartley.

The two-month long closure was all part of the $66 million SCDOT project to widen a stretch of I-26. Businesses say things have been slow as drive by traffic decreased. Drivers who work in the area look forward to the day when all the road work is complete.

"It will be very convenient, plus a lot safer. The old Aviation exit was a death trap," said driver Nate Engle.

Exit ramps to and from Aviation to I-26 will reopen this summer after lanes on I-26 west bound are complete.

SCDOT started the I-26 widening project in 2008. Spokesman Earl Capps says despite bad weather last winter and fall, the project is on schedule to be complete this summer.

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