Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Kudos to the Charleston County Council for rejecting the state's efforts to build a highway extension that relies on outdated, disproven methods for moving vehicles around. Considering that it was an 8-0 vote, it's apparently unanimous that SCDOT's plan needs to significantly change.
Hopefully, that department will do just that rather than engage in legal wrangling.
After the 8-0 vote to dump the S.C. Department of Transportation's chosen plan for the highway, a majority on the council went a step further. They voted to negotiate a "no build" decision with the state -- meaning no plan for the highway would move forward -- unless the state considers "enhancements to existing transportation infrastructure to accomplish the project goals."
That means the county wants to use the state funding earmarked for I-526 for other transportation work.
SCDOT has repeatedly taken the position that the project goals can be accomplished only by extending I-526 from West Ashley to Johns and James islands, linking the existing highway to the James Island connector.
The agency also has rejected the idea of considering new alternatives to the Mark Clark plan selected by the state, the unpopular "alternative G" that the council rejected.
That $489 million plan would complete the Mark Clark as a moderate-speed, ground-level parkway with a bike path, connecting the islands and West Ashley with new bridges.
Together, the council's actions would appear to have killed any plan for the Mark Clark. But some council members said that's not the case, and county Attorney Joe Dawson said the county's contract with the state does not allow it to unilaterally quit the project.