526 … Again: Charleston County Council will get another chance to vote down the extension of Interstate 526 tonight — this time with a fresh bill from the state for $11.6 million already spent on the project. Council committee meetings begin at 4:30 p.m. at 4045 Bridge View Drive.
Last month, the council voted 5-3 to abandon the controversial project that would send the interstate from Savannah Highway to the James Island Connector. First envisioned nearly 40 years ago, the latest $489 million proposal was $69 million over budget. It also faced strong opposition from residents who weren't convinced the four-lane road would address traffic concerns.
The State Infrastructure Bank, which has financed several large road projects across South Carolina, spent the $11.6 million on land acquisition and planning and design work. And the bank board voted unanimously last week to make the county pay for that work.
The move wasn't entirely unexpected, but County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor is using the news from the SIB board in an attempt to get the council to reconsider.
His proposal, as outlined in the Post and Courier this morning, would create a smaller, $200 million road running from Savannah Highway to Maybank Highway. This new idea raises a few questions. The first is whether an intersection with Maybank is a good idea. The state DOT plan intentionally avoided connecting with Maybank, instead creating two long ramps running from River Road.
Other meetings we're watching:
The City of Charleston is holding public forums all week on the proposed map redrawing council districts.
Bike Month includes two events this week: A Ride of Silence on Wednesday and a Ride to Work event over the Ashley River on Friday morning.