US 17 & Main Road Improvements
The Latest: The SCDOT agreed to help Charleston County design the flyover project and begin the permitting process. Charleston County is now working to find funding for the $60M+ project, with one option being the potential half cent sales tax referendum proposed for the November ballot. Stay tuned for opportunities to support this project!
September 29, 2015: Charleston County Council approved a motion directing staff to negotiate with the SCDOT regarding the reallocation of funds from the superstreet project to a flyover design! Please be sure to thank those in favor of this motion: Chairman Summey, Councilwoman Condon, Councilman Rawl, Councilman Sass, and Councilman Qualey. Also, please contact those opposed to the flyover and urge them to reconsider their position on the project: Councilwoman Johnson, Councilman Darby, and Councilman Pryor.
September 22, 2015: The Charleston County Legislative Delegation met to discuss plans to resolve some of the issues on Main Road. At this meeting, a motion was made by Representative Brown to support Charleston County Council in their efforts to fix this intersection with a flyover design. This motion was passed!
September 10, 2015: At the Charleston County Finance Committee Meeting, Council voted to table to issue of improvements to the Main Road and US 17 Intersection. Many residents (and elected officials like Representative Robert Brown) attended this meeting, and the Council meeting on September 15th, to show support for funding real priority projects like this intersection improvement, which address our extreme traffic and safety problems.
About the Project: The intersection of US 17 and Main Road is consistently plagued by problems. Every day at rush hour the intersection gets snarled in traffic as drivers try to turn left onto Johns Island. This intersection is also one of the most dangerous in Charleston County. According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), there were 359 crashes, 193 people injured, and three fatalities there between 2003 and 2011. Most recently, king tides and record rainfall paralyzed the intersection for days, adding hours of travel time to daily commutes.
The intersection of US 17 at Main Road was identified for improvements by the Federal Highway Administration and has been approved by the SCDOT Commission; however the proposed improvements are inadequate. The current plan for that intersection is a “Superstreet,” an at-grade design that removes the existing traffic light and forces drivers to U-turn, but does nothing to address the low-lying road’s flooding issues. Charleston County selected the Superstreet design over the elevated flyover because it is the cheaper option. However, it is not the best option.
A grade-separated, overpass or “flyover” design will solve the flooding issues, improve hurricane evaluation times and driver safety, and alleviate daily traffic backups—and it can be completed in the next few years.
Charleston County Council members have a choice: We can continue to waste time and money on the Superstreet design, or we can reallocate the money to a realistic project that will solve both safety and traffic problems.