A decision on whether the state Department of Transportation will complete Interstate 526 across Johns and James islands likely will be made Wednesday.
The DOT commission met today in Columbia and voted 4-3 to take up the matter Wednesday. The issue was on the agenda for the group’s meeting today, but it was pulled earlier this week.
Commissioners Harrison Rearden, John P. Edwards, W.B. Cook and Clifton Parker were in favor of voting on the matter Wednesday. Jim Rozier, R. Eddie Adams and J. Craig Forrest were opposed.
Some commissioners said the matter was removed from the agenda because the project isn’t an official DOT project, which was a confusing explanation because the group was being asked to decide whether it would take on the project.
Dana Beach, director of the Coastal Conservation League, which is opposed to the project, said he thought it was pulled by I-526 supporters because the project didn’t have enough votes to pass. Beach said that in an informal poll he conducted, at least four of the seven commissioners were opposed to the DOT taking on the project because it is not ranked a state priority.
The extension of the road for years has been controversial, but in it’s become an increasingly polarizing issue in recent months.
Supporters say it’s needed to alleviate traffic and improve safety. Opponents say it will promote sprawl and development on Johns Island, and that the state has other more pressing road projects.
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.