Highway commissioners meet with Charleston County on I-526

Highway commissioners meet with Charleston County on I-526

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - New information on a plan to extend I-526 to Johns and James Islands. It's a project that Charleston County Councilman Vic Rawl says the community has been talking about since 1972.

Before the end of the year, the State Department of Transportation will decide if Charleston County will take the lead role in the project.

Several council members say they want to manage the design because they feel they can give it the attention it deserves and get the project going.

"The more decision makers you've got on the process of the build itself, the more time it'll take to do it," said Councilman Rawl.

The group against the extension, called NIX 526, spoke in front of the Department of Transportation at their Thursday meeting in Greenville. When Charleston County Council was made aware they would be speaking, the sent several representatives as well.

Charleston County Council Vice Chairman Elliott Summey says they were able to turn the discussion in their favor.

A majority of the Charleston County Council members want the county to manage the design and build of the new section, with the DOT overseeing it.

Vice Chairman Summey says they already have a tentative plan mapped out, with an estimated total cost of $558 million.

"It'll start at the end of the existing I-526 and end at the entrance to the James Island connector," said Councilman Rawl.

Their plans are calling for two legs coming off to Johns Island one on either side of the Maybank Highway. The council envisions it being more of a parkway than a highway. Speeds will be limited to a maximum of 50 miles per hour.

Councilman Rawl says it will cut down on traffic and benefit our growing community.

"People are coming here to work, coming here to live. They love this area and we've got to keep up with it and it's very difficult to do,' said Councilman Rawl.

"I'm very hopeful that its completed before I die, if you want the truth of the matter," said Councilman Rawl.

Low Country Highway Commissioner Jim Rozier told Live 5 that he is not as sure, that come December, the project will be handed over to the county to manage. The majority of the commissioners have to vote in favor of amending the current contract.

Live 5 also reached out to the group NIX 526 to see how they plan to move forward in their efforts from here. We have not heard back from them yet.

We will make sure to keep you updated.

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