Charleston Council Still Unsure on Harbor View Road Plan

September 26, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Warwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

The presentation given by Charleston County Deputy Administrator Kurt Taylor to the Charleston County Council Finance Committee on Sept. 22 was thorough and polite.

Taylor was addressing the committee over the changes proposed by Councilman Joe Qualey regarding the Harbor View Road plan. But there seemed to be a slight note of irritation apparent, too.

It would appear that Taylor would have liked to have said the Harbor View Road plan was determined after many public hearings.

It was shaped with the view of the public and the blessings of a number of agencies, including the S.C. Department of Transportation.

In consequence of this, Right of Way by condemnation has been secured along the roadway to accommodate the proposed changes. Utilities have drawn up their plans, too. And now Qualey has yet another meeting with residents and wants to change the plans.

Details of the changes include reducing the width of the road and pavement, and modifying the bike paths and turning lanes.

If the committee were to approve Qualey’s Plan, staff suggested that it undertake the following steps:

  • Perform an environmental review under S.C. DOT and FHWA approval;
  • Revise roadway and drainage plans;
  • Request approval from the City of Charleston and SC DOT of the revised plans;
  • Request the affected utilities to revise their original plans;
  • Perform a Right of Way acquisition based on the new plans; and
  • Request a modification of the existing wetland permits from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Committee members were concerned about the cost of the new plan. But staff declined to make an estimate because so much was unknown.

The actual construction costs could be less than that estimated for the original plan, it seems. But there would be extra engineering and design costs.

The original Harbor View Road plan was projected to cost $13 million. To date about $3.6 million has been spent. Drawing on the comments of staff and council members, Chairman Teddie Pryor Sr. opined that the cost of making the proposed changes would be about $1 million.

The committee instructed staff to further study the proposed changes and to seek the view of the state Department of Transportation.