So, Mount Pleasant — a town that has barely mastered the roundabout — is now getting its very own spaghetti junction?
Well, that’s what it looks like.
Charleston County has unveiled plans to ease congestion at the intersection of Highways 17 and 41, which at times seems to rival Atlanta as a major cluster … of traffic.
But even though the proposed road map looks like a queue line at Disney World, Mount Pleasant is hardly the happiest place on Earth.
“Dumb as hell,” County Council Chairman Elliott Summey says.
And that isn’t even the most unkind review. Mayor Will Haynie says the crisscrossing lanes of S.C. Highway 41 in this plan look like a strand of DNA. And apparently, these sorts of roads aren’t in Mount Pleasant’s bodily makeup.
Which they should have thought of before they threw up all those big, rambling subdivisions.
Seems folks are mostly upset because the plan — which includes fancy flyovers and more roundabouts — also prohibits left-hand turns in places, including Brickyard Plantation.
Traffic would be routed right to eventually go left, which makes perfect sense. Most people in Mount Pleasant already lean right, so no big change there.
But officials warn the new traffic pattern may require everyone in the town to first prove their proficiency on Mario Kart. Game system sold separately.
The good news is this setup, designed by some very creative engineers, widens Highway 17 to 10 lanes in some places and keeps traffic moving most of the time.
Even if it isn’t moving anywhere anyone particularly wants to go.
People driving south on Highway 41 would have several options for merging onto 17 — including routes pointed toward Awendaw and, apparently, Atlantis. Getting to Sonic and CVS, however, might require some travelers to change planes in Columbia.
The county has produced a high-tech video (possibly directed by James Cameron) that shows how traffic would flow under this new plan, and is now accepting comments.
In a related story, Charleston County’s website is expected to break down in the next day.
But folks should not dismiss this plan right away. After a few minutes, most of the design makes sense, and might even keep Mount Pleasant moving … at least until they build a few more mega-developments.
And that’s the problem. The Lowcounty’s most bustling bedroom community is simply growing too fast to eliminate all congestion — unless engineers propose an even more radical design.
That is, eliminate all turns off U.S. Highway 17 — left and right — and route all that traffic directly to Myrtle Beach.