Expressway a would-be savior, destroyer of trees

Image by flickr user ZevotroImage by 20080617expressway.jpg A proposed road project could help save tranquil woods on Johns Island, while simultaneously clear-cutting others.

Update: Thursday's meeting brought out a host of opinions. In support of the expressway was Seabrook Island's mayor, the hired traffic engineer with TranSystems, and 60 percent of 346 comments received by the county. In opposition of the $155.7 million idea was an estimated two-thirds of the crowd.

At the end of the meeting it appeared Charleston County would move in favor of a four-lane, limited-access expressway that would likely be a toll road. The county also said it would try to minimize the number of old oaks being cut down. (map of approximate route is below)

Original post: The Sea Islands Parkway may soon offer a direct link from Kiawah and Seabrook islands to downtown Charleston.

The idea is simple: Rather than widening River or Bohicket roads, build an altogether new road. And that's where the simplicity ends:

- The parkway would stretch across Johns Island beginning at Maybank Highway (see map below), cutting through private lands and expanding development to previously virgin land.
- To pay for the road it has been suggested to use the money from the county's half-cent sales tax, or to make it a limited-access toll road.
- Some call existing roads (or widening of them) too dangerous and say they provide insufficient hurricane evacuation. Others call those ideas hogwash and say slowing down traffic will have the same safety effects.
- There are suspicions that the expressway is desired in part to increase Kiawah's profile for the 2012 PGA Championship.

Here's a rough map of the proposed expressway route:[gmap line=#000000/2/0.6:32.749745112369084 , -80.03299713134766 + 32.74165978309797 , -80.02904891967773 + 32.73588409867885 , -80.03265380859375 + 32.726931048100624 , -80.04501342773438 + 32.70988888713546 , -80.04999160766602 + 32.68836489676853 , -80.06149291992188 + 32.673916355105845 , -80.079345703125 + 32.664668061867424 , -80.09908676147461 + 32.65643049484829 , -80.11436462402344 + 32.6486257837367 , -80.13839721679688 + 32.64905939667127 , -80.13805389404297 |zoom=11 |center=32.69775519529247,-80.06355285644531 |width=470px |height=350px |control=None |type=Map]

Expressway for the rich, or way to preserve ancient oaks on Bohicket Road? Love it, or hate it? Make your voice known by signing a petition supporting or opposing it, or attend Thursday's public comment meeting at the St. Johns High School Auditorium (map) at 6:30 p.m.

Development can be such a tricky thing.

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