Record crowds at Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island created the worst Memorial Day weekend gridlock in recent memory.

But help could be on the way as Charleston County Council on Thursday considers a proposal to speed up $3 million in funding for Isle of Palms Connector improvements.

Factors that led to the big crowds include balmy beach weather after a chilly spring, the long holiday weekend and the launch of Spoleto Festival U.S.A., said IOP City Administrator Linda Tucker.

“A lot of things came together that made for the perfect storm,” Tucker said.

Some drivers reported waits of up to three hours on Sunday while trying to leave Sullivan’s.

“I’ve never in my life seen traffic like that. Nothing was moving. I mean nothing. It was unbelievable,” said Mat Surles of Mount Pleasant.

The situation prompted renewed calls for four-laning the Mount Pleasant stretch of the IOP connector, the project that County Council will consider.

IOP Police Chief Thomas Buckhannon likened the holiday traffic to tens of thousands of people streaming from a stadium after a footall game.

This is his 33rd summer on the island.

“It’s the worst traffic I have ever seen,” Buckhannon said.

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