Drivers, cyclists give new IOP Connector a thumbs up

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It was the first true holiday test for a stretch of newly revamped road and by all accounts, the widened Isle of Palms Connector passed with flying colors.The ultimate goal is better and safer travel for all modes of transportation, both on and off the island{} and even on one of the busiest weekends, travelers gave it the thumbs up.{}There's a whole lot of newness in this neck of the woods - fresh pavement, dirt just waiting for the grass to grow, fencing around the newly planted trees, 82 new trees to be exact. Even the stickers are still on the concrete warning tiles.The pile of construction signs are a clear indication the improvement project is complete. The now four{} lanes at Rifle Range Road and the IOP Connector are open for business.{}"It's easier to get on and off," noted commuter Mike Carey. "It's not as backed up going over, it's a little bit easier to maneuver. There's still the wait but not like it used to be.{}The addition of through lanes, bike lanes and turning lanes are accomplishing the initial goal so far.{}"I feel so much safer," said bicyclist Judy Haggerty. "There were a couple of spots I had to be on this side of the road and people are honking to get off. But the bike path is great, you dont have to worry." The project was completed ahead of schedule.{} And even though we experienced heavier than normal traffic because of the holiday weekend, drivers and riders seem to think the widening project is a step in the right direction.