ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCIV) -- Beach season is here. When the weather is nice people flock to the beach, which can make getting there a challenge, but a recent project on the IOP Connector should make getting there a little less hectic.
It was cause for celebration as the IOP Connector Widening and Intersection Improvement Project was completed early and just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
"It's going to help traffic flowing particularly off of the island where we have had significant congestion because too many people come to visit the beach and try to leave all at the same time," said Isle of Palms Mayor Dick Cronin.
The project included adding two new lanes on the Mount Pleasant side of the IOP Connector in addition to new turning lanes.
"The main focus was the intersection of Rifle Range Road and IOP Connector. That was the real backup point for the Connector, so installing an additional lane and all the turn lanes that go with it," said Richard Turner, Project Manager at Charleston County Transportation Development.
The sidewalks and multi-use paths are still there in addition to the trees.
"Every tree that could be transplanted by equipment was transplanted off of and here and re-planted somewhere in the county," said Turner. "Sixteen of them were planted here on the project and the others went to the City of Charleston, North Charleston and other places in Mount Pleasant. Then we replaced everything that we removed so in the end we end up with about 16 or so additional trees along the causeway that we didn't before."
There is also now a 4-foot paved shoulder for cyclists. The ultimate goal is better and safer travel for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
"There is no magic bullet. There are a lot more people in the Lowcountry, a lot more people want to visit the beach. There is only so much beach available," said Cronin.
The changes just aren't on the ground but up above. Officials will be adding cameras to keep an eye on traffic and the beach crowd.
There will be seven cameras total.
Four of the cameras will be beachfront from 10th to 14th streets replacing ones that died last year. Two will be on the public restroom beside Coconut Joe's: one facing the beach to monitor conditions and the other in the alley to monitor vandalism. The last one will be at the bottom of the IOP Connector to monitor traffic and will be accessible on the city's website.
The price tag for the cameras is roughly $25,000. All seven cameras should be in place and operational by the end of June.?