Ashley River Road
The recent Post and Courier editorial, “Tread lightly on Highway 61,” suggests the importance of preserving Ashley River Road, which is not only the oldest road in South Carolina but designated both a S.C. Scenic Highway and a National Scenic Byway. The road links National Historic Landmarks and other historic sites through what has been called a cradle of civilization in this part of the world. To drive along it gives one the feeling of passing through woodlands in a verdant tunnel created by overhead tree branches. One feels colonial history embraced by nature with live oaks, Spanish moss and dense pine-hardwood forests.
Improving the road should not be just about accommodating traffic but also about revering the natural environment.
Together with the historic sites preserved within it, the Ashley River Historic District is a cultural resource of immense value to greater Charleston, important to all of us regardless of heritage.
Unquestionably, your suggestions of “rumble strips” and “lowering — and enforcing — the speed limit” are much better solutions than letting the DOT widen the shoulders excessively and remove ancient trees.
Comprehensive, long-range regional planning should scream for alternative routes to relieve the vehicular burden on Highway 61. While funding is not currently available, planning should begin for the eventual extension of the Glenn McConnell Parkway (well west of Ashley River Road) to loop northward around Summerville, as well as route corridors for future construction.