IOP Connector to be widened, three other projects also get green light

IOP Connector to be widened, three other projects also given green light

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A few projects designed to make commutes a little easier and some roads safer got the nod from Charleston County's finance committee Thursday night.

Four projects in the works for years, pushed to the head of the line.

"We've got this money that we've been entrusted by the public to spend, and it's a good time to work on these projects and really show the voters and the constituents of Charleston County what they've paid for," says council member Colleen Condon.

Council member Elliott Summey says they consider economic development, traffic, and safety when prioritizing projects. According to Summey, widening the Isle of Palms Connector to four lanes at the Mt. Pleasant stretch from Highway 17 to Rivera Drive, is the most pressing. He says Memorial Day weekend was a mess.

"It's about quality of life for our folks. It's about quality of life for the tourists that come here, for the folks that come from other parts of the county, the tri-county, to go to those beaches."

Another plan is to add a few turning lanes at the intersection of Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard.

"The Sam Rittenberg and Ashley River Road intersection is the most dangerous in Charleston County when you look at the number of accidents," says Condon.

Condon says she's most excited about the plan to convert one lane of the Ashley River Bridge to a bike and pedestrian lane.

"We want that same opportunity for folks that live in the West Ashley area, and right now, there is no safe passage from West Ashley to downtown for cyclists."

A left turn will also be added at the intersection of Calhoun Street and Courtenay Drive coming off the James Island Connector.

The county will pump roughly $10 million total into the four projects. The money is slated to come from next year's budget, which kicks in July 1st. The council will tap into bond funds and reimburse them down the line.

The timeline for each project's construction isn't set, but we're told construction on the IOP Connector will begin after Labor Day and be completed by December. The council will take a final vote on Tuesday.