Charleston NIMBYs flame tensions after opposing I-526

January 5, 2024 by No Comments

Residents of Cainhoy and Huger, bearing witness to the transformative impact of I-526 on their communities, present a compelling cautionary tale concerning the proposed extension of the freeway across Johns and James Islands.

Founded in the early 1720s, the Wando River enclave, once characterized by quaint tranquility, has found itself enmeshed in a web of development since the opening of the Mark Clark Expressway three decades ago.

The potential for a similar narrative unfolding on James and Johns islands looms large with the prospect of an 8.5-mile southern loop to the interstate, estimated at a cost of $2.3 billion. This proposed extension would connect the existing expressway with the James Island Connector and ultimately the Charleston peninsula.

On December 5th, the South Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Bond Review Committee approved preliminary funding of $75 million to the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank for the initial phase of the highway’s extension.

This development has reignited long-dormant concerns over the Mark Clark Expressway’s southern loop. Cainhoy resident Sammy Sanders, expressing a sentiment shared by many, issued a stark warning: ‘Don’t do it! Don’t let it happen!

While acknowledging the positive consequences of a housing boom in the Huger community, such as improved internet access, community advocate Vernelle Dickerson highlights the accompanying drawbacks: increased traffic, an unpleasant sewage pumping station, and a general erosion of the tranquil rural lifestyle cherished by residents.

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