Report puts priority on completing Glenn McConnell extension to ease traffic problems

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A new report places high priority on extending a major West Ashley road all the way to Summerville.

The 25-page report from the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce identifies the Glenn McConnell Parkway extension project as an important project that should be prioritized as a way to ease traffic on Highway 61, which some longtime Charleston residents say is a traffic nightmare.

"Absolutely awful, and it's only getting worse," Charleston resident Will Richardson says. "The more people move here, the worse it gets.

"Oh boy, if you have all day and no place to be in a hurry, it's a great place to live," Charleston resident Kathy Andrews says. "But if you're in a hurry, it's horrible."

The plan calls for extending the Glenn McConnell Parkway from Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley all the way to Summerville, where it would connect to Highway 26 near the Volvo plant.

The group says building new roads is critical to keep up with our rapidly growing population. The report assessed the importance of addressing a number of infrastructure projects but states the Glenn McConnell project stands out above the rest.

"It would provide essentially another major artery for people commuting to and from the West Ashley, Summerville areas, another way to get around," Chamber of Commerce Chief Advancement Officer Mary Graham says.

The report suggests Highway 61 traffic could be improved with the alternate route.

Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson says he's in support of the Glenn McConnell extension. He just worries funding, logistics and other ongoing projects may prolong the time it takes to actually address the project.

"That really is a big item for us to discuss because it's going to be so expensive," Wiley says.

"We do have a lot of needs, and money is always the issue," Graham says.

But it's an issue she says should be tackled in the interest of improving local infrastructure.

The Chamber will continue presenting the report to the appropriate city officials and governing bodies to voice their findings. The report also suggests prioritizing the extension and completion of I-526.

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