CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A plan designed to improve traffic congestion on Highway 41 is receiving criticism from some historic neighborhoods.
After looking at several designs and going through the National Environmental Policy Act review process, Charleston County officials say one plan is the best solution to reduce congestion in that area.
It would widen the highway in both directions and add a center turn lane, from the Wando Bridge to the intersection of Highway 17 and 41.
"This alternative was determined to be the most effective solution for addressing the traffic congestion that exists today and in the future," Charleston County Project Manager Cal Oyer said. "It has lower travel times than the other alternatives, it has higher travel speeds, and less delays as you go through the corridor."
The proposal would go right through the Phillips community and could cause some residents to lose a portion of property.
The Phillips community is a historically black area of Mount Pleasant dating back to the 1800s. The homes fall on either side of Highway 41 and some residents are worried widening the road could mean an end to their community.
Richard Habersham has lived in the community for years and says he is disappointed in this plan being the final choice for public comment.
“I think it’s very unfair because we didn’t create the problem, Mount Pleasant created the problem,” Habersham said. “Nobody’s [going] to lose their house, but when the road comes up a few feet from your house you lost the quality of your life.”
Instead, Habersham says he would have preferred a different alternative that would have brought relief. He says the county should have gone with one of the other plans proposed, which would have routed the highway through Park West and Dunes West.
County officials say they are going to work with the people in that community and see if they can adjust their design to minimize any impacts. They will also be creating an advisory committee to better communicate with residents.
The county is accepting public comment by way of:
The public will have 30 days to comment on the proposal, starting Aug. 13.