by John Steinberger | July 17, 2018 5:22 pm
SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall addressed the Charleston County Legislative Delegation Tuesday at North Charleston City Hall to provide an overview of the state’s 10-year plan to improve roads, bridges and highway safety. The agency has $3 Billion in ongoing projects, a three-fold increase from 2008. The top priorities for the plan are resurfacing roads, improving safety conditions on rural roads, replacing structurally deficient bridges and widening inter-state highways. Plans are underway to widen I-26 west of Summerville and the existing portions of I-526.
Hall encouraged people to visit the scdot.org website to review the ongoing projects. South Carolina has the fourth largest road inventory in the country, and Hall says there is a 30-year backlog in maintenance. The 2017 roads plan which increased the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel two cents per gallon each year for six years is intended to enable SCDOT to catch up on that backlog. The state tax on gasoline will reach 28.75 cents per gallon by 2023. Senator Sandy Senn included a provision in the roads bill which increases the amount of locally-controlled C-Funds which will go to “donor counties” like Charleston, which pay a greater share of the taxes. In 2018, the provision will send an additional $3.4 Million for Charleston County roads and the premium will increase to $18 Million by 2023. Charleston County uses most of the C-Funds money for resurfacing.
The legislative delegation also received an update on projects funded by Charleston County’s 1% transportation sales tax. Among the top priority projects include road improvements near Charleston International Airport, widening Highway 41 in Mount Pleasant, intersection improvements along Savannah Highway in West Ashley, and widening Main Road from Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley to Betsy Kerrison Boulevard on Johns Island. The first phase of the Main Road project will include an overpass which will keep traffic off of Savannah Highway and terminate at Limehouse Bridge. The project requires an Environmental Impact Statement, which could take up to three years before construction could begin.
Senator Chip Campsen noted that roads along rivers and marshes cost 90 times more per mile than roads along land-locked portions of the Upstate. He said that should be taken into consideration when permitting new homes on the sea islands, due to the extremely high cost for new infrastructure.
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