North Charleston, S.C. (WCIV) — The midday move along Interstate 526 in North Charleston is relatively smooth. But city leaders say the morning commute can be a bear. And they blame the lane reversal.
“We’re used to the truck traffic. We get it every day. But not when its backing up the movement of our people trying to get east of the Cooper. I just think it’s an unnecessary move that can be handled better,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.
He explained how losing a lane of traffic leaving his city causes major delays, backing up to North Rhett Avenue. He prefers the lane reversal take place after 9 a.m.
“We believe that this can make a dramatic change in the movement of vehicles getting in from the Mark Clark to East of the Cooper,” Mayor Summey said.
However, the South Carolina Department of Transportation officials are sticking with the plan.
“We don’t intend to take down this two-way traffic during morning peaks because we’re concerned for safety,” said Rob Perry, director of traffic engineering for the DOT.
He and other officials contend their current plan is effective.
“For driver expectancy, we don’t want folks to be able to go multi-directional 21 hours a day, and for three hours not,” Perry said. “The last thing we want is to introduce a situation where there could be a serious or fatal injury.”
Still, North Charleston’s mayor disagrees.
“Everybody has to be taken into consideration. And right now I don’t feel like we have been,” Mayor Summey said.
A spokeswoman for the South Carolina Ports Authority tells ABC News 4 operating hours at the Wando Welch Terminal were changed following the bridge closure, although the hours are different from what Mayor Summey prefers.
The Ports Authority official said the hours could change again depending on what happens with the bridge repairs.