SCDOT to vote on I-526 project

File Photo (WCIV)

By Stefanie

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A debate that has been going on for decades may finally be put to a vote in Columbia Wednesday morning.The South Carolina Department of Transportation could finally hold a vote regarding the I-526 extension project. This has been a decades-long debate about whether to complete the stretch of the interstate that would connect West Ashley to James Island.$558 million dollars has been pledged by the state infrastructure bank for this project and a few weeks ago, a survey went out that was paid for by the SCDOT to gather public opinion.The result of that survey: 72 percent of people that would be impacted by the extension of the interstate approved the idea. But still many people are confused by the issue including one SCDOT commissioner we talked to."I hope we table this whole discussion until we get more information," said Jim Rozier. "I think the whole issue is too confusing right now to have any type of vote on. I hope we will let cool heads prevail and table this for more information and make a more informed decision at a later date."A vote however is expected to happen Wednesday and Teddie Pryor, chairman of the Charleston County Council says no matter what the SCDOT decides, county council will not let the project die and they will move forward with it some other way.Still, some in the community are completely against the project including the Coastal Conservation League."The ideal situation would be a 'no' vote from the commissioners and this project should just go away," said Jake Libaire with the CCL. "It should die. They should use that money for more cost efficient solutions. There are smaller simpler plans to improve their commutes, improve their lives and not dramatically change the landscape and really make irreversible impacts to our Lowcountry environment."At 11:30 Wednesday morning, the seven members of the SCDOT commission are expected to vote on whether their department will be the ones in charge of this project.


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