SCDOT announces official restart of I-526 completion project with re-evaluation of environmental impact

SCDOT announces official restart of I-526 completion project with re-evaluation of environmental impact
The I-526 completion project which was once thought dead received an official new beginning on Wednesday morning

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The I-526 completion project which was once thought dead received an official new beginning on Wednesday morning.

SCDOT says they will begin with a re-evaluation of a 2010 environmental impact statement and launched a new project website as well. Officials say the initial environmental impact statement will change because land use, traffic and demographics have all changed around I-526 in the past nine years.

The proposed project would include approximately seven miles of new road from the end of I-526 in West Ashley to the James Island Connector at Folly Road.

The website includes all documents from when SCDOT looked into the project back in 2010 as well as a “frequently asked questions” section.

In January, a new plan was approved with Charleston County on the hook for $305 million with the State Infrastructure Bank paying for $420 million to complete the project.

In February, county council voted to use $3 million from the 2004 and 2016 half-cent sales tax in order to fund the project. In 2020, the county budget includes $8.5 million for the project.

The project has also come with some controversy.

The Coastal Conservation League maintains that in 2016, I-526 was not listed in the ordinance Charleston County Council approved to put the sales tax referendum on the ballot. The conservation league asserts that Charleston County is "breaking its contract with voters by obligating that the 2016 sales tax be used to fund the extension.

According to a schedule listed on the new website, a public comment period will take place from the fall of 2020 through the spring of 2021.

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