It's standing room only at I-526 meeting

It was a standing-room-only crowd tonight at Charleston County Council's meeting discussing the plan for the future of the Interstate 526 completion project.

If Interstate 526 is completed across Johns and James Islands, Brad Taggert would cut 14 miles off his daily commute from his home on Johns Island to his job in North Charleston.

So he's one in a standing-room-only crowd at Charleston County Council's meeting on I-526 who wants to voice his views on the long-stalled project. And he's a member of the Facebook group Charlestonians for I-526, which has about 3,000 members on Facebook.

Supporters and opponents of the project will listen to presentations for and against the project. In tonight's line up are: House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Robin Welch, from the opposition group Nix 526, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and county staffers.

James Island residents Bill and Brook Lyon showed up to oppose the project.

“We're hoping to show the political powers that be that completing 526 is a terrible idea,” Brook Lyon said. She is opposed because she thinks it will back up traffic on James Island, and it's bad for the environment.

John King, who lives in West Ashley said one of the reasons he supports the road is because it will carry Johns Island traffic down to Johns Island. Now, much of it is dumped in West Ashley, he said.

Many of the opponents who showed up today have invested a lot of time studying the issues related to the project, and they know well the players who could make decisions on its future.

ChipFlop. That's what Nix 526 member Rich Thomas called state Rep. Chip Limehouse before the start of today's

meeting.

Limehouse, who also is a member of the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Banks board said last week that the bank has wide discretion and could transfer some of the $558 million for I-526 to a bundle of smaller projects. Some County Council members think that would alleviate traffic congestion. The package of smaller projects would cost about $260 million.

But Limehouse said Monday that while that the could do that, it won't.

Check postandcourier.com for updates. Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.

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