Road and utility work is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 on Coleman Boulevard, bringing to a close a project that has affected the flow of traffic on one of Mount Pleasant’s major thoroughfares for more than two years. Motorists certainly won’t be sad to see the ubiquitous orange barrels and cones removed from the road that helps carry traffic from the Arthur Ravenel Bridge to the beach and the businesses, homes and schools in between, but the brightly colored barriers won’t be disappearing altogether. They’ll be used for several other planned or ongoing transportation projects aimed at making it easier to get from point A to point B in one of America’s fastest-growing towns.
Construction got underway on Sept. 11, 2017, and, according to Mount Pleasant Transportation Director Brad Morrison, the final paving work will be completed in September. The $18.2 million project between Mill Street and Pherigo Street, $3.5 million of which was for utility relocations and upgrades, also includes storm water and roadway upgrades, as well as “massive drainage improvements,” landscaped medians, lighting, bike lanes, bus pullouts, benches, trash receptacles, bike racks and an innovative traffic signal system that automatically adapts to the flow of vehicles on the road.
Morrison said after the paving work is completed, the new traffic signals would be in operation in October and lighting would be finished before the end of the year.
“Three months from now, people will be really impressed,” Morrison commented in July. “The intent was to make Coleman Boulevard a more pedestrian-friendly environment — a main street.”
“A huge part of the cost and need was drainage improvements,” he added. “You won’t see flooding anymore.”
ALL AMERICAN BOULEVARD
This project will extend All American Boulevard from where it currently ends at the Wholesale Appliance Center across George Browder Boulevard to the roundabout near Highway 17 in Park West. The .6-mile project, currently scheduled for construction from March 2020 to December 2021, will cost $5.365 million.
The new road will permit residents who live in the area to drive to the Publix shopping center and its environs without traveling on Highway 17. Morrison pointed out that the construction schedule is subject to changes in the town’s Capital Improvement Program, which is funded from year to year.
HIGHWAY 17 TO RIFLE RANGE CONNECTOR
This project at one time included the realignment of Long Point Road across a portion of Boone Hall Plantation, but the Town Council removed that part of the project in 2018. Design work on the road, which will connect Highway 17 to Rifle Range and run through a future park jointly owned by the town of Mount Pleasant and Charleston County, is scheduled to be completed in September 2019, with construction wrapping up in September 2022. The total cost of the work, including design and engineering, land acquisition and construction, is expected to be $10.5 million. The original estimate was $16.8 million. Morrison said the difference has been dedicated to other transportation projects.
The Connector will provide direct access to Billy Swails Boulevard and help take traffic off Highway 17 and Rifle Range Road.
BILLY SWAILS BOULEVARD 4B
This section of Billy Swails Boulevard will complete a five-mile corridor the town has been working on for nearly 20 years: extending the road from Highway 17 to Porchers Bluff. The newest part of the road — which is also known as Hungryneck Boulevard and Sweetgrass Basket Parkway as it heads northeast from Highway 17 — will be a twolane divided highway with a landscaped median and bike and pedestrian facilities.
Construction on the $14 million project is scheduled to be completed in August 2022. Morrison said $10 million of its cost would come from the federal government.
SHEM CREEK BRIDGE BIKE LANES
Preliminary plans are currently being reviewed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The federal government will kick in $633,000 of the total cost of $900,000.
PATRIOTS POINT INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS
Plans call for turn lanes to be added on Patriots Point Road, Magrath Darby Boulevard and Coleman Boulevard, along with a receiving lane on Patriots Point. In addition, bike lanes will be extended from Patriots Point to Bayview Drive. Work is expected to begin in June 2021. The cost of the project will be $8.7 million.
MARITIME PORT DISTRICT TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS
This project consists of work at the intersection of Long Point Road and Wando Park Boulevard and perhaps Long Point Road to Shipping Lane. It is aimed at enhancing safety and traffic flow. The cost of the work is still to be determined, as is the timeline for construction.
PARK WEST BOULEVARD WIDENING
Construction that will widen the entire road to four lanes from the existing four lanes at the town’s recreation complex to the Bessemer Road roundabout got underway in June 2019. The project, which is expected to cost $9.7 million and be completed in December 2020, will include drainage and safety improvements and add biking and walking facilities, as well as improvements to the existing Queensgate Way roundabout.
IMPROVEMENTS ON PARK WEST BOULEVARD AT STOCKDALE STREET
This project will consider alternatives to improve the flow of traffic and enhance safety at this intersection. A roundabout and signalized intersection improvements were considered, and a roundabout option with a new connecting leg into the Park West School campus was approved for design.
The cost and construction timeline have not yet been determined.
One of the Mount Pleasant area’s most controversial transportation issues is the widening of Highway 41. According to Morrison, Charleston County must decide on the route the road will take and what the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 17 eventually will look like — and then the plans must be approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Possibilities include making the existing road four lanes and routing it around the Phillips Community through Park West and Dunes West.
Morrison said a public hearing on the subject probably will be held in October.
By Brian Sherman