Berkeley County updates residents on Phase 2 of the busy roadway’s widening project
BY: CHARLIE MORRISON
The last half-decade has born witness to a continuous debate between elected officials, South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) officials and members of the Daniel Island, Cainhoy and Clements Ferry Road communities over the future of highly-trafficked Clements Ferry Road. With discussion of Phase 1 of the project completed, plans made, and construction underway, the attention of Berkeley County and the public has shifted to the second phase of the project.
While the first phase targets widening Clements Ferry Road from I-526 to its intersection with Jack Primus Road, the second phase will focus on widening the roadway from Jack Primus to Highway 41. In addition to expanding the latter stretch from two to four lanes, plans call for a center two-way left-turn lane or raised landscaped median, intersection improvements and the creation of a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path, which will line the extent of the roadway.
In that vein, Berkeley County invited the community to attend a public information meeting last Thursday, April 27, to present the proposed project design. Attendees to the drop-in style session were invited to view various displays of the proposed construction plan and speak to County and consultant representatives in attendance about the project. Additionally, they were encouraged to submit comments to the County on the proposed plan, which is still subject to change.
Comments can be emailed to Berkeley County Public Information Officer Hannah Moseley or submitted by mail (see addresses at end of story) until the cut-off day of May 11, but that didn’t stop many community members from expressing themselves at the meeting.
“I think it’s a good thing. It’s about convenience,” said area resident Jackie Alston. “I’ve been here 30 years and I’ve seen so much change. Change is always resisted, people get used to the way things are and that’s just human nature, but times change.”
Fellow longtime Cainhoy resident Sybil Mitchell agreed, but felt the planners of the project needed to do more to make that change palatable to locals.
“Change is inevitable but how it is done matters,” said Mitchell. “You have to take into account how the people are living in the community presently and what those changes are going to do to impact the lives of those people.”
“It’s a rural area, so I think it would have been nice for them to incorporate as part of the design the feel and spirit of the area,” she continued. “So, you have the expansion in terms of change but you also maintain the flavor of the community. I promise you if they had done that it would have won awards all over the place.”
For others, the widening of Clements Ferry Road is a long time coming. For them, the road’s safety is the prime factor. The SCDOT currently estimates that over 14,000 cars use the road per day, but of that number a large percentage are industrial vehicles and semi-trucks.
“That road is waiting for someone to get killed,” said Jim Hasbrouck who serves as president of the nearby River Reach Point neighborhood association.
“The road is dangerous,” added Sammy Sanders, a 56 year resident of the Clements Ferry Road community. “You’ve got trucks and cars going side by side and it’s just not safe. Something has to be done. It’s just that it should be done in a way that respects our future.”
Another official public meeting for the proposed $36 million project is slated for later this year, with right-of-way acquisition set to take place beginning in 2018 and construction to begin in late 2019.
Citizens interested in submitting comments on the proposed plan may do so by emailing Berkeley County Public Information Officer Hannah Moseley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be sent by regular mail to Hannah Moseley, Berkeley County Government, P.O. Box 6122, Moncks Corner, SC 29461. For more information on the Phase 2 plan to widen Clements Ferry Road see Berkeley County’s dedicated project website at www.berkeleycountysc.gov/drupal/ engineering/onecent/clemferry2.