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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Study backs overpasses on U.S. 17

The Post and Courier

Mount Pleasant - Overpasses are the best solution for future traffic volumes on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard, according to a six-month-long traffic analysis by a town-hired consultant.

Representatives with Collins Engineers and Day Wilburn Associates presented their findings Wednesday in front of a crowd of roughly 50 residents who seemed disheartened and in disbelief of the results.

The consultants stated that with traffic on Johnnie Dodds, which is also U.S. Highway 17, expected to jump from 58,000 vehicles a day to 70,000 vehicles a day by 2030, elevated overpasses, or flyovers, at the intersections of Johnnie Dodds and Houston Northcutt boulevards and Johnnie Dodds and Bowman Road would be the most efficient way to move traffic. Flyovers also would provide better pedestrian and bicycle mobility they said.

The consultants also suggested that the preferred remedy for traffic at three other main intersections between Houston Northcutt and Bowman would be reconstructing them with left-turn lanes in advance of the normal signaled intersection to alleviate backups.

Roundabouts, an option favored by many town residents, ranked at the bottom of the consultants' list.

"The main point appears to be to get people from downtown Charleston to Park West and Charleston National as quickly as possible," said L.M. Smith, who lives near Johnnie Dodds. "All this will do is encourage strip mall development and increase the speed of traffic and the noise to nearby neighborhoods."

A separate $250,000 study of Johnnie Dodds, paid for by business owners, is expected to be completed in January.

Residents will have one more chance to voice their opinions on the information presented Wednesday before town council votes on the matter sometime in January or February.


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