West Ashley residents wait for Glenn McConnell Parkway Widening Project to begin

VIDEO: West Ashley residents wait for Glenn McConnell Parkway Widening Project to begin

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The promised orange barrels and road work signs have yet to show up along Glenn McConnell Parkway, leaving residents who travel the road wondering what’s happening with the project.

Charleston County’s website lists the project to widen the road to six lanes from Magwood Drive to Bees Ferry Road as set to be under construction by the first quarter of 2021, a date that has come and gone.

Permitting delays are to blame for the lack of work. The county said the project is in the final stages in the permitting process, which is made more complicated due to the environmentally sensitive nature of the nearby Church Creek drainage area.

“The corridor takes place in the Church Creek drainage basin area, which is a restricted area as far as what you can and can’t do stormwater-wise,” Herbert Nimz, a construction project manager with Charleston County Public Works, said. “So as part of our permitting process, we’ve been placed under extra scrutiny.”

Drainage and flooding mitigation are key aspects of the project, as is building a bike and pedestrian trail.

Nimz expects to have permits in hand by the end of the month, with the project being put out for bid in June. Construction is now set to begin in the third quarter of 2021.

While there will be some impacts on traffic, throughout most of the project there will still be two lanes open each way.

“A lot of the actual construction will take place in the shoulders, so I think we’ll be able to maintain two lanes of traffic in both directions for the majority,” Nimz said.

Residents Live 5 News spoke with who didn’t want to go on camera wondered when work will start, noting they hadn’t heard updates on what was behind the delays. One neighbor doubted whether widening the road would solve congestion issues given the amount of development underway and planned in West Ashley, especially at the western end of the road.

Johns Island resident Dawn Brannan drives on Glenn McConnell Parkway every couple of weeks. She said congestion forces her to leave extra time to get where she’s going – usually Chick-fil-A – during her semi-regular drives in the area.

While the delays are disappointing, she said in the end, less congestion would allow her to make more frequent trips to the restaurant.

“I probably won’t have to leave so early just to take these guys to the pediatrician either,” she said while holding her young daughter.

Once work begins, it will take roughly three years to wrap up.

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