By Eric Egan
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCIV) -- Charleston County and Mount Pleasant officials celebrated a job well done on Johnnie Dodds Monday morning. While a few finishing touches remain, the project's finish line is right around the corner.
The original completion date for the project was December 2012. Some unexpected revisions pushed the date back to early next year or next spring, but the major improvements are clearly in place.
"We listened to our businesses, we listened to our citizens and we got it done," said County Councilman, Herb Sass. "And that worked out as well as we could hope."
After two years of construction, workers transformed one of the Lowcountry's busiest sections. The difference is unmistakable. From the early days of construction, to the near finished product, crews have completed a new overpass over Bowman Road. Johnnie Dodds has been widened from two to three lanes, in both directions. They even added a last minute, left turn lane at McGrath Darby.
"What we did was listen to business owners, their need of how that would impact their businesses, we added that turn lane to help alleviate some of their concerns," said Director of Transportation Development, Steve Thigpen.
A few final upgrades remain. Ramps running off Bowman will see some night-time closures for work. Likewise, landscaping in the medians will lead to a few more temporary lane closures.
You still may see a couple crews along the frontage roads.
"When we finish these frontage roads, folks it's going to be a beautiful, beautiful thing," Mount Pleasant Mayor, Bill Swails said Monday.
The newly added street and traffic lights haven't been turned on just yet. Project leaders plan to put in a computer system to operate them.
"We expect to have the engineering firm that's inspecting those lights and establishing the program here in January," Thigpen said. "So we should be turning the system on in January, and probably fine tuning it until the end of January."
Thigpen said the project exceeded his expectations. Meantime, the $84 million price tag was funded by the county's half-cent sales tax.
The project features additional improvements including bike lanes and sidewalks, new curbs and gutters and the new Bowman Bridge over Shem Creek.