IOP Connector widening project gets green light

File Photo (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with Charleston County have confirmed that the widening project two years in the making is finally moving forward.According to spokesperson Shawn Smetana, the county's finance committee voted unanimously to approve the project.Banks COnstruction Company was awarded the $2.4 million deal to widen the connector from two lanes to four. The expansion will run from Highway 17 to Riviera Drive.The project, which has been in the works since 2011, will include several steps. After adding lanes to the connector, crews will{} rework the intersection at Rifle Range Road.The town of Mount Pleasant asked the county to look into the project to alleviate traffic, mostly during peak tourist season and morning and evening rush hours. The plan is to expand the portion of the IOP Connector, running from Riviera Drive, down to Highway 17, to add one more lane to the road in each direction.Leaders say the intersection at Rifle Range will also see work so turn lanes cane be widened.The bike and pedestrian paths running on both sides along the road will not be affected.Smetana also confirmed the work will start next month and should be completed by next Memorial Day weekend with Banks facing penalties if they're late.The project is being funded by Charleston County's transportation sales tax initiative. Officials say no extra land will need to be acquired to complete the project.