Four high-profile and long-awaited road projects likely will get the green light today from Charleston County Council.
Among them is a bike and pedestrian lane on the T. Allen Legare Bridge across the Ashley River, long sought by outdoor enthusiasts. The lane would give West Ashley and James Island bicyclists and pedestrians a safer way onto the peninsula. East Cooper residents already have such access.
The Isle of Palms Connector also would be widened, alleviating intense holiday beach traffic that stranded motorists up to three hours over Memorial Day weekend.
The final projects — intersection improvements at the James Island Connector and Calhoun Street, and at Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard — would reduce traffic backups and improve safety at two of the city’s critical intersections.
Charleston County Council is expected to approve the balance of funding required for four road projects at its meeting today. Some money from the half-cent sales tax already has been set aside for each project. The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Lonnie Hamilton III Public Services Building at 4045 Bridge View Drive in North Charleston.
The group’s Finance Committee, comprised of the same council members, approved the plan with an 8-1 vote Thursday.
The county has bond money available, and would dedicate it to these high-priority projects. It would pay back the money with half-cent sales tax revenue over the next several years.
Ashley River Bridge bicycle and pedestrian lane
Description: The southernmost lane (the lane on the left side of the above photo) of the T. Allen Legare Bridge would be converted to a bicycle and pedestrian lane.
Need: The project would give West Ashley and James Island residents safe and legal bicycle and pedestrian access to the peninsula.
Cost: The project will cost about $2 million. The county needs another $1 million to complete it.
Timeline: The new lane would take 12 to 18 months to complete after funding is secured.
Isle of Palms Connector widening, improvement to the intersection at Rifle Range Road
Description: The connector would be widened to four lanes in Mount Pleasant from U.S. Highway 17 to just past Riviera Drive. The intersection at Rifle Range Road also would be changed to improve traffic flow.
Need: The project would better move beach traffic, which can come to a standstill on busy holiday weekends.
Cost: It will cost about $3 million. The county needs about $2.5 million to complete it.
Timeline: Construction would begin after Labor Day. An estimated completion date has not yet been set.
Intersection of S.C. Highways 61 and 7 (Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard)
Description: The project would add left turn lanes, driveway modifications and traffic signal timing improvements.
Need: The intersection, one of West Ashley’s busiest, needs safety and traffic flow improvements.
Cost: The improvements will cost about $7 million and the county needs about $3.3 million to complete them.
Timeline: It will take about six to nine months to acquire required right of way and permits. Construction can begin after that. An estimated completion date has not yet been set.
Improvements to the intersection of the James Island Connector and Calhoun Street
Description: The project would add a left turn lane onto Courtenay Drive to help prevent traffic from backing up onto the connector.
Need: The intersection is extremely busy, especially during the morning rush hour as vehicles flood into downtown. The improvements would make traffic flow more smoothly.
Cost: The project will cost $3.8 million and the county needs $2.6 million to complete it.
Timeline: It will take about six to nine months to acquire required right of way and permits. Construction can begin after that. No completion date has yet been set.
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.
Traffic (center) from the James Island Expressway, or Connector, enters Calhoun Street on Monday June 3, 2013. (Wade Spees/postandcourier.com)×
Traffic streams away from Isle of Palms with sporadic afternoon showers on Sunday June 2, 2013. (Wade Spees/postandcourier.com)×
Intersection of Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard on Monday June 3, 2013. (Wade Spees/postandcourier.com)×