The plan to extend 1-526 is not dead and the Charleston County Council is still working on solutions, its chairman said recently.
Chairman Elliot Summey told Palmetto Business Daily the plan to extend the road across James and Johns Island is still on.
“We continue to work on solutions," he said. "We have a current and valid contract to fund $420 million for the project."
The South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank voted 4-1 in May to withdraw funding for the project, one that has divided residents of the city and county.
The bank had earlier earlier given the country until March 31 to come up with a plan to cover $300 million of the more than $700 million cost.
A survey published in July found that 61 percent of Charleston County residents supported the plan to extend the 1-526 across James and Johns Island. The survey was commissioned by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, vocal supporters of the extension.
“The challenge for the business community is we have a fast growing region and we need the infrastructure to meet the demand,” Summey said.
“Communication and coordination is a key component to meet infrastructure challenges,” he said. “There are several jurisdictions in and around Charleston County. We all need to stay in contact and work together on improvements to help our citizens and businesses commute on a daily basis.”
He cited as a positive the agreement with the South Carolina Department of Transportation to move forward with the widening of Highway 41 in Mount Pleasant. An engineering firm is expected to be in place in 90 days.
“U.S. 17 and Main Road is another key project and we are moving forward on that project as well,” Summey said. “Finally, we’ve been working on the Airport Area Roads (AAR) for a while now and we are moving along in cooperation with the Aviation Authority. “
Summey said he is overall optimistic and proud of the Lowcountry, its businesses, and its future development.
“The most impressive part of our business community is diversity,” the council chairman said. "Tourism may grab the headlines and it’s a wonderful part of the local economy. But we build wide-body planes at Boeing and full-sized Sprinter vans at Daimler. We’ve got a talented workforce with training available to get the next generation ready to go. And our tech sector is growing and the Port of Charleston is one of the main job engines in the entire state.”