To accommodate an increase in traffic volume, Charleston County, the Town of Mount Pleasant, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation are partnering to improve roadway capacity and ease traffic congestion along an approximate five-mile stretch of Highway 41. As a designated hurricane evacuation route and key corridor in and out of Mount Pleasant, Highway 41 will continue to experience significant use and increased traffic congestion.
Proposed improvements may include widening the existing two-lane roadway with landscaped medians, bicycle lanes and sidewalks or multiuse paths. These improvements would increase the current roadway’s capacity and would ultimately reduce traffic delays and congestion while minimizing environmental impacts to the area, including communities and businesses.
The project study area has been defined as a mainline corridor of Highway 41 from US 17 in Mt. Pleasant across the new Wando River Bridge to Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County. The project also includes improvements to the intersection of Highway 41 and US 17 and completion of the tie in of Gregory Ferry Road to Highway 41 near US 17. The study corridor also includes US 17 from the intersection with Hamlin Road to the entrance to Oakland Plantation and an expanded study area around Laurel Hill County Park and the Phillips Community between Bessemer Road and Dunes West Boulevard. The purpose of the expanded study area is to fully evaluate the potential project effects on the County Park, adjacent communities, and associated roadways. Residential communities along Highway 41 include the Phillips Community, Dunes West, Park West, Rivertowne, Planter’s Pointe, The Colonnade, Brickyard Plantation, and Horlbeck Creek. Additionally, the project study area includes crossings over Horlbeck, Mill and Wagner Creeks.
In order for the Highway 41 Corridor project to receive federal funding or receive required federal permits to construct, the project’s design scope must be established in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Under the NEPA process, an extensive environmental review must take place in order to complete a rigorous analysis of the project area and to examine reasonable alternatives for the improvements. The environmental review is done in order to avoid, minimize or mitigate environmental impacts and to ensure public participation is incorporated into the decision making process. Public input is critical during the environmental review process to provide important insight to Charleston County as the project plans and scope are refined.
The project team is evaluating potential ways to expedite the design, permitting, and construction phases of the project. The section of Highway 41 between US 17 and Joe Rouse Road has already reached its capacity and is key to alleviating the ever-increasing traffic for the whole corridor. The project team’s goal is to construct this section as soon as possible.
Charleston County will oversee the design and permitting process of the Highway 41 Corridor Improvements project which will be divided into multiple phases. Phase 1 is expected to last eight months and includes project scoping to understand existing environmental, cultural and traffic conditions of the study area. A range of alternatives will be developed and presented to the public based on these findings. Following Phase 1, more detailed studies will commence in Phase 2 along with preliminary engineering design and completion of the draft and final environmental review documents.