Community meeting

Community Meeting Saturday to Discuss the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West Project

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation is seeking community feedback as developers continue to move forward with the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor West Project.

There will be a Community Mitigation Meeting in North Charleston on Saturday where project managers will brief the public on their plan and give them time to ask questions.

According to the project official siteit would stretch approximately 9.7 miles between Paul Cantrell Boulevard in West Ashley and Virginia Avenue in North Charleston.

Project director Joy Riley explains that the purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the community’s mitigation plan. Riley says it’s their way of creating benefits for the communities that will be directly affected by the project.

Russelldale, Ferndale, Liberty Park and Highland Terrace are the communities that will be directly affected. These are mostly minority communities.

Riley says that over the past three years they’ve been checking in with those communities and trying to make sure the community mitigation plan addresses their concerns.

Residents shared one of their biggest concerns is losing their homes due to the widening of the 526/I-26 interchange.

Riley says many of the Community Mitigation Plan programs focus on increasing generational wealth, building affordable housing, scholarships and job training opportunities.

About 100 houses will be demolished for this project. Riley says construction won’t begin until all residents have been relocated to replacement homes they plan to build.

“We plan to build 100 new affordable apartments, but also 45 single-family lots with single-family homes, and a first-time home buyer’s grant program that helps low-income people,” Riley said.

Although widening the freeway will eliminate homes in the area, officials believe it will help limit travel times, traffic jams and more.

West Ashley resident Devin Clark says he sees accidents on the 526/I-26 interchange all the time, and it often takes 20 minutes or more to travel a few miles. Clark says he’s glad the SCDOT is considering doing something about it.

Saturday’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Ferndale Community Center in North Charleston.