NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – Standstill traffic on I-526 has become a norm for many drivers. The question is, what do we do about it?
Mike Leatherwood has felt the headache of I-526 too many times.
"You just know every afternoon that you're going to be delayed going home. And, it takes 10 -15 minutes sometimes to get from Leeds Avenue to 17," said Leatherwood.
The 8.5 mile stretch between Highway 17 in West Ashley and North Charleston sees about 80,000 cars a day. It's been named one of the top 5 busiest corridors in South Carolina. And, if that isn't enough, officials say traffic will only get worse.
"Projections from the traffic models that the Charleston area transportation study group has done shows traffic increasing about one percent a year," said Michael Dennis, technical applications engineer for the South Carolina Department of Transportation. That means by year 2035, traffic will be up by a third.
"We're looking at travel demand management which is trying to change people's travel patterns. Get them off the road in peak hours," said Dennis.
While officials are considering adding a transit system and/or signal timing coordination to alleviate traffic, they are also taking advice from drivers.
"Maybe widen the bridge itself, add another lane to where cars can get up to faster speed to get into the other lane," Leatherwood said.
Officials say it could take up to 2 years before a plan is finalized.