What you can expect in 2021 for the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project

Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 4:56 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After years of discussion, transportation officials are getting a clearer picture on the timeline for the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project.

Transportation officials from around the Tri-County area met on Monday morning to talk about the updates.

The LCRT is a bus rapid transit system that travels from Ladson to downtown Charleston and back the other way. Right now design teams expect there to be 20 stops and the entire trip to take about an hour. Half of the 20 mile trip would consist of a lane solely for the bus so it could bypass other traffic jams along Highway 78 (University Boulevard) and Highway 52 (Rivers Avenue).

Click here to get a closer look at where those 20 different stops are planned.

“It is our region’s first mass transit project, which came from the I-26 Alternatives Analysis study,” principal planner for the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments Sharon Hollis said. The overall goal of the project is to get cars off I-26 and therefore improve traffic around the Lowcountry.

In January and February 2021, the team is studying the areas around the stops to make them more appealing to riders.

“We are doing a Transit Oriented Development study to look at how we can develop areas around the stations to really help that that transit ridership and an economic impact that this project can bring,” Hollis said. “While also providing equitable access and looking at things like affordable housing.”

Here’s a look at some engineering milestones for 2021:

The goal is to have a completed look at the design for the stations to show the public before the summer. In the fall of 2020, officials change the route by a few miles. Instead of starting in Summerville, the route will now start and end at the Ladson fairgrounds.

The project is expected to cost 360 million dollars, half of which will come from a tax Charleston County residents voted to approve in 2016. Staff hope federal funding will cover the other half.

During Monday’s meeting SCDOT commissioner Robby Robbins asked Hollis if the only local funding source is Charleston County.

“That is correct,” Hollis said.

“No funds are being contributed by Dorchester County or the Town of Summerville?” Robbins asked.

“That’s correct,” Hollis said.

If the project gets the federal funding needed the goal is to start construction in 2023.

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