I-526 expansion becomes hot topic at James Island council meeting

It's an issue that refuses to die, but residents of James Island hope they have finally buried the proposal to extend Interstate 526.

At Tuesday night's town council meeting, Mayor Bill Woolsey proposed a resolution to support Charleston County's efforts to pursue options for I-526.

He said that by considering other alternatives for the project, less costly options could be chosen, which would help the entire county, including James Island.

But the council voted down Woolsey's proposal.

Over 100 people packed the council chambers, and the majority were against the expansion.

But Mayor Woolsey defended the proposal, saying it could benefit the town not just in the short term, but the long run. And he's sticking by one lawmaker in particular.

"Sen. McConnell is responsible for the existence of this town. It was his work in Columbia that allowed for both the second and third incorporations. If he asked me to support I-526, I would say yes," Woolsey said.

But council member Robin Welch disagreed with Woolsey's reasoning.

"I think it's pretty sad that you care more about Teddy Pryor, Bobby Harrell and Glenn McConnell more then the citizens of this town," Welch said.

Citizens in favor of the project expansion say would help with hurricane evacuation and ease day to day congestion, many wanted the town's original decision to stand.

Those against it say argue it would not help traffic problems and would instead hurt the environment.

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