Council stalls SCDOT plan to cull I-26 trees - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Council stalls SCDOT plan to cull I-26 trees

An aerial view of the stretch of I-26 in question. An aerial view of the stretch of I-26 in question.
A photo from the meeting. A photo from the meeting.

The plan to cull three wooded acres of land along 29 miles of the Interstate 26 median in Berkeley and Dorchester counties has stalled following a meeting Monday between the Berkeley – Charleston – Dorchester Council of Governments and the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

During a morning meeting, the BCD Council of Governments decided to form an exploratory committee to discuss alternatives to SCDOT’s proposal, which called for a complete culling of median trees between mile markers 170 and 199 and the addition of cable guard rails.

Supporters say the project will make the road safer for motorists. Between 2007 and 2011 there were almost 2,000 crashes on that section of the interstate causing 44 deaths and 709 injuries. The corridor has been called the most dangerous stretch of highway in the state.

Some detractors, like current and former First Congressional District Representatives Mark Sanford and Arthur Ravenel Jr., think the trees are a recognizable, identifiable part of the Lowcountry brand.

Both sides are looking for compromise on the issue. One proposal mooted during the meeting was a process called daylighting: removing some, but not all, of the trees in the median.

New BCD Chairman Dan Davis said it will be like “starting from scratch.”

A committee has not been selected yet.

The public will be allowed to weigh in on the issue on Thursday, August 1, during a 5 p.m. meeting at the Summerville High School Auditorium.

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