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Construction underway on new turning lane off Ashley River Bridg - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Construction underway on new turning lane off Ashley River Bridge

Construction crews on Lockwood Drive exit (Source: Live 5) Construction crews on Lockwood Drive exit (Source: Live 5)
Rendering of new lanes for exit (Source: Charleston County) Rendering of new lanes for exit (Source: Charleston County)
Rendering of new turning lane onto Lockwood Drive (Source: Charleston County) Rendering of new turning lane onto Lockwood Drive (Source: Charleston County)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Construction started Friday on a big improvement project to the Ashley River Bridge.

Phase one includes adding a left turn lane to the Lockwood Drive exit.

Right now there are only two lanes coming off the exit.

One takes you to the right towards the Charleston Marina, while the other gives drivers the option of taking a left onto Lockwood or continuing straight.

Many locals say the new left turning lane is much needed.

"It will be great. Glad to hear it,” said Patty Wallace, of West Ashley. “I'm very happy that it's going to be improved."

Crews were out Friday prepping for the construction of the brand new turning lane.

It's phase one of the Ashley River Bridge Bike and Pedestrian Improvement Project approved by Charleston County.

"I think with one lane it does get backed up, more than is best,” said Bruce Babcock, of West Ashley. “We have a lot of non-ideal driving situations in Charleston, but that is one where there is probably room to make improvements."

"You want to keep traffic moving,” said Jim Kocoloski, who lives downtown. “As long as it's safe."

Once the lane is done, there will be a total of three lanes branching from the exit; one lane to turn left, right, or go straight.

Metal rods and tarps were being placed out there Friday.

The lane will go where part of the left shoulder is now.

County officials say construction should be complete by the beginning of April, 45 days, all depending on the weather.

"Yeah I am [surprised at how soon],” Wallace said. “With all of the things that need to get improved around town, I'm interested that that's getting done, but I'm happy about it."

Once phase one is done, it will move into the next phase, a temporary lane closure across the bridge to the far right side.

This is to monitor the traffic patterns before construction begins on the bike and walking path.

"I assume it's been well studied, and if it doesn't impede traffic or the flow of traffic of the cars, then I think it's a great idea," Kocoloski said.

"I think we should encourage bicycle and pedestrian activity and crossing, because it's difficult here with all the rivers," Babcock added.

That temporary lane closure will be compared to the previous traffic study of this area done several months ago.

Right now the hope is this new lane will help solve some of the issues drivers are dealing with.

Nighttime and shoulder closures will be announced as they come up.

At this time aren't any full lane closures expected.

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