SCDOT releases plans for changes to I-526 at I-26, other interchanges

VIDEO: SCDOT releases plans for changes to I-526 at I-26, other interchanges

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Live 5 News got a look Tuesday morning at plans the South Carolina Department of Transportation will release to the public later this week.

Staff with SCDOT have been working for years on improvements to I-526 and they are one step closer to major changes.

The changes span the I-526 WEST project which stretches from West Ashley to the Don Holt Bridge. The public will be able to view a virtual, public meeting on Thursday, November 12 which will detail many changes. Included in those changes are upgrades to three major interchanges which are detailed below:

I-526 at the merge of I-26

The “merge” is SCDOT’s main priority when it comes to fixing Lowcountry interstates.

Project manager Joy Riley said the existing, tight ramps will be replaced with long, sweeping directional ramps that will allow traffic to move through the interchange more efficiently. The design would also separate the most significant traffic onto new collector distributor roads along I-26 and I-526.

“It just cannot process very many cars," Riley said about where I-526 and I-26 meet. "It doesn’t meet the demand of the traffic today, so we’re going to rebuild that interchange to facilitate better movement of traffic between those two interstates.”

I-526 at Paul Cantrell Boulevard

Changes to this interchange include improving the on-ramp to I-526 eastbound going to North Charleston by forming two new lanes to get rid of the merge that causes congestion today.

Cars getting off I-526 to Paul Cantrell Boulevard would also be able to stay right and continue on to Glenn McConnell Parkway and a new bridge would take them over Magwood Drive. Drivers could also stay left and continue to the intersection of Magwood Drive. The goal of this new bridge is to keep traffic moving toward Bees Ferry Road and prevent traffic from backing up onto I-526.

I-526 and North Rhett Avenue

New North Rhett Avenue ramps are proposed to and from I-526, which would provide access to North Rhett Avenue and Virginia Avenue. The old loop ramps would be replaced and new ramps would be built to new collector distributor roads along I-526 for access to I-26.

Drivers traveling on I-526 toward I-26 will exit at North Rhett Avenue to access both North Rhett and Virginia Avenues. Drivers traveling on I-526 toward Mount Pleasant would also exit at North Rhett Avenue to access both North Rhett and Virginia Avenues. Drivers would also have a new ramp circling under I-526 for access between Virginia Avenue and I-526

The public meeting will go live on Thursday, November 12. You will have several weeks to give your feedback. Here are some other ways you can connect the I-526 WEST team:

  • In person office: 5627 Rivers Avenue, Gas Lite Square Schedule an appointment to visit the community office by calling/texting SCDOT staff
  • Phone: 843-258-1135
  • Email: info@526LowcountryCorridor.com
  • Mail: Joy Riley, c/o SC Department of Transportation P.O. Box 191955 Park Street, Room 401 Columbia, SC 29202

Earlier this year SCDOT released a draft of their “Community Mitigation Plan” aimed at offsetting the impacts on more than 80 units and two community centers across four North Charleston neighborhoods. The goal is to help people who need to be displaced before major construction can begin possibly in 2027.

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