CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation said Monday survey results show 72 percent of residents most likely to be affected by the extension of I-526 favor completing the extension.
According to the survey, conducted by mail and telephone follow-ups between July 25 and Sept. 1, the completion of the extension is favored by the majority in each of the zip codes polled: 29407, 29412, 29439, 29455, and 29487.
The lowest percentages in favor of the extension of the Mark Clark Expressway were found in 29487 and 29412, though completing the extension was still the majority option in those zip codes.
SCDOT said information from the survey was provided by 2,189 households, and the overall response rate was 44.5 percent.
Following the release of the results, Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie E. Pryor Sr. said, "The people who are affected have spoken overwhelmingly in favor of the Mark Clark Expressway. It is time to move on and complete this project."
Mayor Joe Riley weighed in as well, saying, "The result of the SCDOT scientific survey, conducted by the University of South Carolina, showed overwhelming support for the completion of I-526 and confirms not only what I and other elected officials have been saying but also confirms my personal experience in talking with residents throughout our community."
"The citizens understand the inconvenience and unsafe conditions caused by the traffic congestion that exists due to the fact that I-526 has not been completed. The poll shows what the citizens want; it confirms my strongest belief that we need to move forward. The time to complete I-526 is now."
SCDOT said more old residents favored the proposed extension than younger residents, although even under the age of 30, 68 percent of residents were in favor of the extension.
Men were a bit more likely to favor the proposed extension than women, at 78.7 percent to 67.4 percent, according to SCDOT.
Charleston County, the South Carolina State Transportation Infrastructure Bank, SCDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration will now hold talks to plan the next steps.