Future still uncertain for James Island intersection

VIDEO: Future still uncertain for James Island intersection

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - A James Island intersection still has a few steps to go through before getting major improvements.

On Tuesday, Charleston County voted to develop two plans to 30 percent, which would help Charleston County Transportation Development get significantly more details on both options.

Some of the project unknowns that would be cleared up include getting the drainage design more well defined and creating a better coordination effort with utility companies.

This phase of the project would cost $65,000.

Right now, the intersection only has one stop sign for drivers headed toward Riverland from Central Park. Originally, there were eight alternatives introduced as possible improvements for the intersection.

The two plans that are being developed are alternative one and three.

Alternative three would add two roundabouts to the intersection. They would be joined together with a grass median, instead of a traffic light, which would cost $4.6 million.

Some people who live on James Island are against the roundabouts. Instead, they’ve opted for alternative one which would add a traffic light to the intersection. That would cost an estimated $4.1 million.

James Island residents who live in that area are saying that the roundabouts will only add to the existing traffic near the Murray-Lasaine Elementary School.

Homeowners are also saying that the roundabouts will cut into their front and backyards.

“We live on James Island and we’ve been there for 40 years. If we build the roundabouts, some of our land will be taken from us," said James Island resident Sandra Pinckney.

Last month, the majority of voters from a public comment period were in favor of the two roundabouts. Out of the 491 comments made, this plan got 53 percent support. The traffic light option came in second with 43 percent, while 4 percent chose “no build.”

These are significantly different from the first public comment period that ended last year. In 2018, 75 percent of the 307 respondents wanted the two roundabouts, while only 14 percent voted in favor of the traffic light.

People also voted on important factors for these plans during the most recent public comment period. The votes showed that 47 percent of respondents ranked improved safety as their number one. Improved traffic flow, minimized traffic property impacts, and anti-traffic light came in a distant second, third, and fourth respectively.

In 60 days, Charleston County will hear what the Transportation Department has learned in furthering developing both plans.

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