Study examine plans to fix I-526, dubbed ‘worst corridor’ in South Carolina

VIDEO: Study examine plans to fix I-526, dubbed ‘worst corridor’ in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation wants to know when and where Lowcountry drivers have waited in traffic along I-526.

While staff have been working on plans for I-526 West, the area from Paul Cantrell Boulevard to Virginia Ave, they are taking next steps on I-526 East. This section is from Virginia Avenue to Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant.

“It’s definitely the worst corridor in the state, interstate-wise,” SCDOT Project Manager Joy Riley said. “The [I-26 and I-526] interchange is hands down the worst, but from a mainline segment, the worst segment is from North Rhett to Clements Ferry Road.”

SCDOT has studied the traffic congestion and done crash analysis over the last few years and say most of those crashes happen near North Rhett Avenue and the Don Holt Bridge. Congestion is noted particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours and anytime there is a crash.

“Eventually we need to widen the entire segment of 526, and this planning study now is really looking at what solutions work the best,” Riley said.

SCDOT has a website with more information where you can answer a short survey. Staff will also be launching a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, July 15 where there will be even more information and opportunity to get involved in the project. Responses from drivers so far include truck-only lanes or HOV lanes as possibilities to improve congestion.

“They’ll have the opportunity to say what improvements they’d like to see. We know we can’t widen our way out of congestion,” Riley said.

The staff is in the midst of a two-year study which will determine what solutions are possible and how much it could cost. There is no estimated cost right now, but Riley said it could cost as much or more than the I-526 West project, slated to cost about $1.5 billion. Staff said it will probably be another year and a half before any solutions or cost estimates can be presented to the public. They hope drivers will get involved with the public meeting and encourage anyone who can’t access the meeting to call them at the following numbers: 843-258-1135 or 866-632-5262

Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.