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How can DOT improve I-26 in Charleston?

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Our readers weigh in to be the driving force of change

This week, the South Carolina Department of Transportation promised that safety improvements, including replacement reflectors, are on the way for I-26. Additionally, SCDOT is discussing larger strategies to cut down on traffic congestion, improve travel times, + reduce the number of collisionssuch as traffic signal upgrades, HOV lanes, + adding tolls.

On Tuesday, a public information meeting was held at North Charleston City Hall, allowing residents to pitch ideas that could help alleviate I-26 traffic– specifically the stretch from S.C. Hwy. 27 (Exit 187) in Ridgeville to U.S. Hwy. 17 (Exit 221) in Charleston.

We know the problems plaguing I-26 tend to bring out some strong opinions, to say the least. We get it– our team’s morning ritual includes placing bets on whether Justine’s daily crawl down I-26 to downtown will last 20 minutes or two hours. So we asked our readers for their thoughts when it comes to improving the congested interstate.

Across Facebook, Instagram, + via responses to yesterday’s newsletter, feedback ranged from support for the tolls, to alternative ideas, to all-out rebellion against SCDOT for the mere suggestion.

Some of our readers support the idea of HOV or toll lanes:

I-95 thru S.C. should have been toll since it opened. Most of the other states have it and it would sure generate a lot of revenue to repair the roads.” – Tom B.

“HOV lanes could be a good idea to decrease the number of cars if we could train drivers to use them.” – Jana D.

“Create a carpool lane.”

The overwhelming majority of our readers, however, aren’t so fond of the idea of adding tolls:

“No– no toll lanes, please. We’ve already seen increases in parking, sales tax, and costs when starting a business!” – Lisa D.

Please don’t start this slippery slope!– Brad

“Check out our misery here on I-77 above Charlotte.” – Tom H.

No HOV! This traffic ISN’T bad!!!!! Go to DC, LA… etc...geez.”

Since we’re big fans of constructive criticism, we decided to share some of our readers’ suggestions for alternatives to the tolls:

Stagger work hours– it will cause less frustration and be more environmentally friendly. THAT’S FREE.”

“Make the 26/95 interchange larger!”

“Longer merge lanes at exits.”

Add a third lane all the way to Greenville!

“More people should work remote.

“Finish 526.”

“Two more lanes on each side.”

Implement a monorail system that travels from Summerville to downtown Charleston.”

“Actually have the on/off ramps done correctly. The exit should be first, not the entrance.”

Public transportation– median could be used for train/bus lane only.”

Finally, because we love a good laugh, we thought we’d highlight some of the more original responses we received:

“Let’s focus on fixing the crappy roads. We already have crater holes deep enough to take one’s suspension out and the manhole covers littering our streets downtown drop down like 3 inches or more in some areas and will ruin tires and rims and suspension. These people need to have a meeting to discuss fixing the crap roads that are already in place and then discuss a stupid toll road idea.– Audwin C.

“People need to drive like they have somewhere to go during peak traffic and pay attention.” – Mike G.

“Driver’s education on how the fast lane/left lane is for PASSING.

“Have Elon Musk bore tunnels.” We reached out– he says he’ll get on that just as soon as he’s finished making Mars habitable.

Elon Musk | .gif by giphy

“Slow it down.” Slow what down? 🤔

“Make people learn how to drive.”

Put up a wall to prevent further people from entering the state.” 👀

Commentary has been edited for clarity when needed, without sacrificing the message.


Office Space | .gif by giphy

Do you have an I-26 improvement idea that wasn’t mentioned? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Better yet– you can pitch your ideas straight to the SCDOT through the end of the month by clicking here.

Jen + Justine