SCDOT finds preferred alternative for I-526 improvements

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2023 at 7:59 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is narrowing down plans for the Long Point Road Interchange Improvement Project.

Department of transportation officials say they technically have six options on the table, but one option, Alternative 2, is the only one that meets the public’s request to maintain the left turn at Belle Hall Parkway.

Alternative 2 is the recommended and preferred option they’re looking at now.

According to their website highlighting the plan, it would provide new access ramps to Long Point Road and improve existing ramps.

Roads to separate port-related and local traffic are also included in this plan.

SCDOT says Alternative 2 meets the need of improving operations and reducing conflicts between both forms of traffic, and it aligns with a future I-526 widening.

They say this plan balances both the need of the project and the public’s feedback.

Long Point Road’s interchange provides access to the Wando Welch Terminal.

The goal is to reduce traffic congestion by providing the trucks entering and leaving the port with an alternate route.

“We really want to separate the increasing truck traffic that we know is going to increase as the port continues to grow, which is great news for us, but we want to make sure that truck traffic doesn’t really interfere from a safety and traffic standpoint with all of the other activity that’s going on in the local area,” Director of Strategic Communications for SCDOT Ginny Jones said.

The interchange provides access to several homes, restaurants, and businesses along Long Point Road, including Portside Veterinary Hospital.

“Unless you drive everyday under 526 and go on the side with all the trucks on it, you really don’t see much of a change with all of this, but as a small business owner down here that recently opened, it is a hindrance for getting my clients in here, and it’s a worry for my patients when they get walked,” Owner of Portside Veterinary Hospital Patrick Jones, DVM said. “We always make sure that they can’t get away from us with so many 18-wheelers. It’s a little bit of a safety concern.”

Patrick works and lives in the area, and he says he’s excited about the potential Alternative 2 presents.

Alternative 2 is still not set in stone to be the finalized plan.

The SCDOT is still continuing to take in public feedback. To find out how you can submit your opinion on the project, click here.

For more details on Alternative 2 and a project overview, click here.

As of this month, construction is set to begin in the spring of 2025.