In February, Rebecca Ham wrote a letter to the editor lamenting nighttime noise and disruption in her neighborhood due to work being done on the adjacent Septima Clark Parkway.
The city of Charleston listened (above the din), and made changes so that the phase of drainage work that began this week will let residents sleep at night.
Ms. Ham wrote, “I understand that construction on the Crosstown is necessary to alleviate the flooding problem. ... Any road work is an inconvenience to drivers, but what about residents in the surrounding area? ... The hours when most construction takes place are selected to meet the needs of drivers — typically late at night. ... However, these hours are least convenient for residents trying to sleep.”
As the next six weeks of work gets under way, the most disruptive work will be done during the day. A dream come true for Crosstown neighbors and, it turns out, a way to save about a month in construction time.
And as for motorists, the city is recommending alternate routes for rush hour, and promises to monitor traffic flow closely throughout the project.
This stage will complete the first part of a much larger project to correct drainage issues. It includes a median of trees, sidewalk upgrades and improved lighting, which have been criticized by some as mere window dressing. But Mayor Joe Riley has explained that it is an essential step toward solving the relentless flooding problems that occur on and around the Crosstown when it rains. He has promised to complete the drainage improvements before the end of his term as mayor.
Meanwhile, the current work involves closing the outside lane of the northbound side of the Crosstown from Spring Street to Coming Street. Barrels will be used instead of concrete barriers so they can be easily moved in the event of an evacuation.
It will likely take motorists a few days to adjust to the new traffic patterns. They should allow some extra travel time and consider using recommended alternate routes during peak travel times. Maps of alternate routes are available at www.SeptimaClarkProject.com.
Motorists coming from west of the Ashley could exit at Lockwood Boulevard and use Bee Street, Calhoun Street or Lockwood Boulevard. They also can bypass the work zone by using Cannon Street to Coming Street.
As Ms. Ham said in her letter, accomplishing this important work requires inconveniences both to motorists and to neighbors.
But it is good to know that the city is doing what it can to ameliorate the headaches.