Charleston Co. Finance Committee approves Maybank Hwy. widening project

JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Finance Committee approved a plan Thursday night to widen Maybank Highway.

The project is designed to ease traffic congestion for Johns Island drivers.

Committee members met to review a construction bid for Phase 2 of the Maybank Highway Improvement Project, which includes widening part of Maybank Highway. Currently, drivers crossing Stono River Bridge to Johns Island have to merge from two lanes into one lane causing traffic to backup on the bridge during rush hour. According to some residents, the timing of the bridge's traffic light also contributes to congestion.

Phase 1 of improvements was completed in October 2015 and included resurfacing Maybank Highway from River Road to the intersection of Main Road and Bohicket. Phase 2 construction would include continuing the two lanes onto Johns Island from the bridge over the river to River Rd. with hopes of improving traffic flow. The plan would also include the addition of bicycle and pedestrian space.

The project was requested by the city of Charleston and is funded by the Charleston County transportation sales tax, as one of the projects approved in a bond referendum in 2006.

The full council will still need to approve the contract before the project can break ground. According to county documents, Phase 2 is expected to take 15 months to complete.

City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg addressed concerns over the timing of the Stono River Bridge traffic light and congestion on social media this week, releasing the following statement:

"I believe we have replied privately to everyone who has reached out individually, but to address the traffic backup on the Stono Bridge, we are aware of it and have taken steps to address it. First, we did manually operate that light for two weeks last year and retime it based on those findings. In addition, we have taken action to address the real issue which is too many cars on too little road and approved the widening of Maybank Highway from the bridge to River Road. We are now waiting on the County to give us a start date to begin that project. Finally, after learning of the ongoing concerns and issues with traffic there this week I have asked our interim director of transportation to personally inspect the timing of that light again and to report to me by the end of the week to see if there are additional actions we can take to make traffic flow more smoothly there until we get the road widened."

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