Access road designed to relieve congestion near airport

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 24, 2014

As operations grow at both the Boeing Co. and the Charleston International Airport, a new access road for the airport is under consideration to relieve traffic congestion.

Boeing and the airport sit less than 1 mile from one another along International Boulevard in North Charleston. Boeing plans to build 3.4 million square feet of manufacturing buildings and 400,000 square feet of administration buildings sometime after 2016 as it expands its 787 Dreamliner operations. Boeing South Carolina employs roughly 7,000 employees and plans to add at least 2,000 more.

Down the road, the airport saw 10% passenger growth in 2013 compared with the year prior. Airports Director Paul Campbell expects tourism and industry growth throughout the region to boost that even more in 2014. The airport’s terminal redevelopment project is also underway, expanding the airport with new baggage claims, security checkpoints and rental car businesses.

Several potential designs are under consideration for the Airport Connector Road to accommodate this growth, said Linda Page, the Mount Pleasant mayor and board member of the Charleston County Aviation Authority. A roughly 3-mile, four-lane road running from Dorchester Road to Montague Avenue near Interstate 526 is one possible route, according to Charleston County.

Representatives of the airport staff, Charleston County, city of North Charleston, S.C. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, among other entities, are working on a conceptual design for the potential new road, said Page during an aviation authority meeting Thursday.

“The goal of the Airport Connector Road project will be to provide increased connectivity for local commuters, as well as citizens and visitors traveling directly to and from the Charleston International Airport,” according to the county.

Construction of the road is estimated to begin in October 2015 and be completed in spring 2017. Engineers, surveyors and scientists began gathering data, conducting surveys and analyzing project information in October.

Charleston County will host a public meeting about the road on March 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Goodwin Elementary School at 5501 Dorchester Road in North Charleston. The county will present its plans and hear feedback from the public and stakeholders.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.

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