The good news for the thousands of drivers who sit in traffic daily on Clements Ferry Road is that the end of the road widening project is in sight.
The bad news is, as soon as the long-delayed improvements from Interstate 526 to Jack Primus Road are finished, the orange and white construction barrels will be moved down the road for the next phase of the project: widening from Jack Primus to S.C. Highway 41.
Nearly 200 people turned out Wednesday for a community meeting at Philip Simmons High School to hear from city of Charleston and Berkeley County officials about road projects, development, and public safety in the area.
For years, two-lane Clements Ferry has been a choke point in the daily commutes of folks who live in the rapidly growing area. Nearly 23,000 cars travel that section of road each day, according to the state Department of Transportation.
"I was beginning to wonder if we would ever see the construction end," said Beresford Creek resident Maude Jennings. "It feels like it's been going on forever."
Widening of the four-mile stretch just off I-526 was included in Berkeley County's first 1-cent sales tax referendum in 2008, but the $44 million project has been beset by delays that included relocating utilities and acquiring rights-of-way. Managed by DOT, the project is now set to be finished by late next year.
The second phase, 4.5 miles from Jack Primus to S.C. 41, was among the projects planned in 2014, when voters agreed to continue the sales tax another seven years. The $42 million project will be overseen by the county, which plans to have the work done in mid-2021.
"Phase Two was different," said Deputy Supervisor Tim Callanan. "We learned our lesson... We’re managing that project, so we are pushing it along at a much more deliberate pace. We are dedicated to getting these things done faster and under budget."
When finished, the first phase will be a four-lane road with a raised median or turn lane and the second part will be four lanes with a raised median. A 10-foot-wide path will run the length of the project and connect to other paths, possibly eventually running from Daniel Island to U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant Callanan said.
In addition, the city and county are working together on a corridor access plan to improve access and safety for motorists along the road by limiting the amount of entrances to Clements Ferry and provide connectivity between neighborhoods, Callanan said.