Johns Island residents react to ‘Northern Pitchfork’ project plan
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Those who live on or travel through Johns Island say they have mixed feelings about a new road designed to connect Maybank Highway to two other roadways.
Work is continuing on what is called the Northern Pitchfork, which will connect Maybank Highway to Fenwick Hall Allee and River Road. That work will require lane closures from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday on Maybank Highway at River Road.
Some residents are hopeful it can be part of a solution for what they say is horrendous traffic but others say it’s just a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.
There is also frustration surrounding the daytime lane closures for Friday, as residents believe it will be a nightmare, and the work should be done overnight instead.
Charleston County Construction Project Manager Sheila Parker said this has to get done in a specific window of time and they don’t want project delays. The new road is something the city and county have been working on bringing to life for years, with the goal of alleviating congestion and moving traffic along on the island.
“People coming off of James Island onto Johns Island using the Maybank Highway corridor will be able to take the Northern Pitchfork road and kind of bypass the Maybank Highway and River Road traffic light,” Parker explained
Byhira Thorn, who frequents the island often, said she thinks the new road will cause confusion for drivers, and it’s not addressing the root issue.
“I think another lane in general needs to be added,” Thorn said. “I mean, they did it with the bridge which was awesome, but they need to do it with the island. The island itself all around, roads need to be doubled for sure.”
Johns Island resident Kristin Nolan said she hopes this will help, but wishes it was done sooner.
“First of all, I think they should have thought about this before all of the building that went on and the extra light that was put here,” Nolan said. “I feel bad for people that go to James Island in the morning if Maybank and River are backed up for miles.”
Earlier this month, Charleston leaders said they are working on a $30-million project to improve traffic on Johns Island, part of which includes widening Maybank Highway to four lanes from River Road to the Stono River Bridge. But funding for that has yet to be nailed down and those plans are years away.
The construction on Friday is weather-dependent and drivers are asked to use caution while driving through the area.
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