Citizens concerned James Island road project is too large

JAMES ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - James Island citizens are rallying to save Harbor View Road. They say a project to widen the road and make other changes will significantly affect green space in the area.

Susan Milliken says the nature is what makes James Island so beautiful and a desirable place to live.

"It's one of the most beautiful drives in Charleston County, as you come up to North Shore it's just all foliage it's really pretty. All of these trees will come out. This elm will come out. The elm across the street. This entire line of oaks right here," Milliken said.

Now she and other citizens making up the "Will You Miss These Trees" organization are concerned that the upcoming Harbor View Road construction project will ruin that. They say the project will make the road too wide, which will result in a loss of trees, green space and private property.

The citizens are now rallying together to send a message to the road project planners, Charleston County Roadwise. So far these citizens have gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition to show the county, they want plans reworked before construction begins.

"It's certainly worth it...We are invested in our community, and we will keep trying until it's absolutely too late," Becky Smith said.

Roadwise says the project includes additional turning lanes, a 10 foot wide bike and pedestrian lane on one side of the road, and improved drainage.

The county says at this point the project is on schedule, with construction set to begin by November.

Residents want their concerns to be heard loud and clear before that point.

"When the road is widened it could turn into Ashley River Road or Savannah Highway, and many homes can turn into offices, so we'd like everything to stay scenic and residential," Milliken said.

People asked for a bike and pedestrian path during past public meetings. Now the county says there are plans for Roadwise staff to meet with the Department of Transportation to possibly scale back the size of the path.

Roadwise started on the Harbor View Road concept plan five years ago, and the project has an $18-million dollar budget. Right now the road is expected to be widened to 39 feet or 51 feet where turn lanes have been dedicated.

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