Public weighs in on Glenn McConnell widening project

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County officials took steps toward improving traffic on Glenn McConnell Parkway on Monday night.

The county had its first public meeting for the Glenn McConnell widening project to hear what people think about the current plans.

Right now, Glenn McConnell Parkway is four lanes wide—two lanes on each side of the road. But this project would widen that to six lanes total—three lanes on each side.

The project would also put in a 10-foot wide walking and biking path on the road.

Dozens of people came to West Ashley High School on Monday night to share what they think about Charleston County’s plans.

“We have so many people moving here every day and we recognize that this road is heavily congested,” Charleston County Transportation Development Project Manager Sunshine Trakas said. “There’s a lot of traffic, and we want to try to relieve that, give more room to provide more capacity.”

The project is expected to cost about 25 million dollars. That money comes from the 2016 half-cent sales tax.

County officials say the plans go far beyond just widening the road.

“The widening from four to six lanes, the bike and pedestrian access, the CARTA shelters, the CARTA benches,” Charleston County Councilmember Brantley Moody said.

People at the meeting said they were excited to see the county taking steps to reduce traffic on Glenn McConnell. Attendees said in the last few years, congestion has gotten worse on the road.

“In the afternoons it’s killer,” West Ashley resident Michael Cole said. “It’s an absolute killer. It’s anti-progress.”

Cole said he’s also worried, though. He said widening the road and improving traffic could bring even more people to the area.

“We’ve done wonders to make roads a little bit wider around the area, so it just makes access much easier so more people could move to the area,” Cole said.

George Locklair also came to tonight’s meeting to voice his concerns about how the project would impact flooding.

Charleston County officials were there to answer those questions, but he wants to make sure the need to improve traffic doesn’t outweigh the concern for neighborhood flooding.

“Hopefully whatever widening they’re going to do is not going to increase any more flooding in the area,” Locklair said.

Officials working on the project said they plan to break ground by Fall of 2020.

It’s a two-year construction project, so the project won’t be complete until at least 2022.

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