Officials discuss 526 extension project

Mayor Riley, above, says the 526 extension project needs to be finished now.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Leaders across the Lowcountry met today to give their support for the 526 Extension Project.

The project would take 526 all the way to James and Johns Island to help with traffic congestion and emergency response like hurricane evacuation. Some who oppose the project have concerns about increased traffic in those areas.

"526 is incredibly important to the future of the Lowcountry," said SC Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell. "If we don't finish this interstate, what's going to happen is 20 or 30 years from now our children are gonna look at all of us and each other and say, 'What is wrong with them?'

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said today is the day to make it clear that 526 needs to be finished.

"The time is now. The responsibility is ours. We must complete i526 and do it as soon as possible," said Riley.

The Department of Transportation currently has control of the project with no apparent deadline on a decision for 525. Speaker Harrell says that is the reason for the meeting today.

"What [DOT] wants to know is where the community is on this project because they've heard conflicting things," said Harrell. "The vast majority of the people who live here want the project. What DOT wants to know is that that is in fact the case."

Harrell says the meeting today shows that leadership in Charleston, North Charleston, the City of Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and North Charleston are all in favor of the extension.