The Charleston Area Transportation Study Policy Committee (CHATS) unanimously approved a resolution endorsing the completion of I-526 (Mark Clark Expressway) and to commit federal Guideshare funds as needed. The project would connect West Ashley with Johns Island and Johns Island with James Island. The CHATS committee is made up of appointed leaders from Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.
The Mark Clark Expressway was designed in the 1960s to provide relief from traffic congestion in a growing Charleston Metropolitan Area. Construction began in 1979, and the road was designated as I-526 in 1989. The expressway ran out of funding before the originally planned legs to Johns Island and James Island were built.
In 2012, the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) committed $420 Million for completing I-526. Disputes between Charleston County and the STIB nearly jeopardized the project from proceeding. Charleston County Council will hold its third and final reading on providing $150 Million in funding on Thurs., Mar. 2. The next step will be getting the STIB board of directors re-affirm its funding commitment. The $720 Million completion price tag is an estimate. Contractor bidding on the project has not yet taken place.