Of all the highway and street upgrades in the Charleston County RoadWise program, the $18 million Harbor View Road makeover on James Island has always drawn the most public interest, said county Administrator Kurt Taylor.

Tuesday night was no exception as more than 150 people turned out at Stiles Point Elementary School to pore over maps detailing the latest proposed changes to the road.

The project includes the first traffic roundabout on James Island, an idea that drew support.

“I think they ought to have all roundabouts. They work great in Mount Pleasant,” said island resident Bob Hawes.

Although new to James Island and West Ashley, roundabouts are increasingly familiar to Mount Pleasant drivers. There are three of the traffic loops on Rifle Range Road, two of them on Mathis Ferry Road and more in the works at other locations. North Charleston has a roundabout at Park Circle.

The James Island roundabout is planned at the intersection of Harbor View and Fort Johnson roads. In a roundabout, traffic flow is counterclockwise. They are safer for pedestrians and have been shown to sharply reduce crashes that result in injuries and fatalities, according to a study by Thomas & Hutton Engineering.

The Harbor View project adds other improvements to two miles of the road from North Shore Drive to Fort Johnson including five-foot-wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of road, four-foot-wide bicycle lanes next to the vehicle lanes and a 13-foot-wide center left-turn lane from Northshore to Affirmation Boulevard. New right-turn lanes at major intersections and traffic signals at Fort Sumter and Mikell drives are planned.

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