After more than a decade of complaints, concerns and criticisms from Cane Bay residents, Berkeley County finally opened another entrance and exit road to one of the largest mega-developments in the area.
On Wednesday, a street that connects Black Tom Road to Cane Bay Boulevard was opened after eight months of preparation, permitting and construction. Previously, there was only one exit and entrance road to the massive neighborhood that will eventually have more than 30,000 residents.
The 570-foot road extension's first drivers were a Berkeley County ambulance, a sheriff’s vehicle and a firetruck with Whitesville Fire Department to showcase the practical use of the new entryway for first responders.
County Supervisor Johnny Cribb said in a statement that he was grateful "this critical and long overdue public safety and quality of life project is complete."
A little more than a decade ago, County Council approved three mega-developments that abut each other near the intersection of U.S. highways 17A and 176: Cane Bay, Carnes Crossroads and Nexton. Together, the three eventually could have more than 75,000 residents.
Those developments have enough homes to comfortably fit all the population of Greenville, one of the state’s largest cities.
Berkeley County has seen a surge in population when more than 6,000 people moved to the area in 2018, boosting the total population to more than 220,000, according to census figures.
During this growth, there was only one way in and out of Cane Bay, which has been a major concern for residents of the development. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew brought 18 to 24 inches of standing water outside of the neighborhood’s entrance, which caused hundreds of residents to be stranded.
The additional exit will help first responders access the neighborhood more efficiently — another concern among residents.
"Completing this road project is critical to the safety and well-being of our citizens and deputies," Sheriff Duane Lewis said. "This connection will reduce traffic, allow deputies to more efficiently navigate the area and better serve the people they’ve been called to protect."
The project was financed and overseen by the Grambiling Brothers, the developer of Cane Bay.
Additionally, Berkeley County approved a third exit and entrance point that is currently being built. Referred to as Spine Road C, the path will extend from the Cane Bay Boulevard roundabout to U.S. 176 at the Nexton Parkway Extension.