The city of Charleston is poised to spend up to $7.5 million to repave and beautify Cannon and Spring streets downtown ahead of its plan to redirect both routes from their current one-way flow to two-way each.
The fixes will include a variety of “street-scaping” additions, ranging from new curbs to sidewalk ramps for the handicapped and adding 130 new trees, mostly palmettos and crape myrtles.
If all goes to plan, the work should begin early in 2014, with the change in street routing coming around mid-2015.
In recent years the Spring and Cannon street corridor has seen a revival of new businesses sprouting up alongside the area’s already established residential homes and apartments. But to keep control of quality-of-life issues, City Council agreed to redirect the routes into two-way traffic, largely as a means of slowing through cars down.
As envisioned, Cannon Street will eventually run two ways from King Street to President Street; Spring Street will run two ways from Meeting Street to the Crosstown.
Parking along the route is expected to stay about the same — allowed on both sides of the streets.
Don Brown, director of capital projects for the city, said that when the work does start, it will be done in sections so that travel along the entire length is not all disrupted at once.
Residents will be given warnings on when to move their cars from the street as the target work advances, he said. About three miles of street-scaping is being addressed.
City Council agreed to make the change more than four years ago. Some of the delay was associated with the construction improvements done to the nearby Crosstown, also known as the Septima Clark Parkway section of U.S. Highway 17.
Spring and Cannon were originally two-way streets, but were converted to one-way traffic about 50 years ago to speed cars through the peninsula from the old Cooper River bridges to U.S. Highway 17.
Charleston City Councilman James Lewis, whose district includes part of the work area, said he was ready for the project to become reality.
“I would be one person who would be very happy to see it happen,” he said.
Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551