Why are HWY 78 improvements important?
The HWY 78 Corridor is a known source of congestion in the tri-county area. HWY 78 serves as a vital connection to I-26 and provides a direct route between Summerville and North Charleston. Important features along the corridor include the Wannamaker County Park, Trident Medical Center, Charleston Southern University, and the Exchange Park (fairgrounds). The corridor also contains dense commercial, industrial, and residential development with numerous driveway access points and unsignalized intersections.
Who is managing the project?
Charleston County is leading the project in close communication with major local agencies and entities like SCDOT and the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG). The Charleston District of the US Army Corps of Engineers is anticipated to be the lead federal agency under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for the project.
How is the project being funded?
At this time, the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax Program is funding the project. This project was included as a project of local significance in the 2016 Half Cent Sales Tax Referendum Ordinance
What will the project cost?
There is currently $47 million allocated to the project. Detailed cost estimates will be developed during the project design process.
Has the preferred alternative been established?
No. During Phase 1, the project team will be studying and considering multiple alternatives for the HWY 78 improvements. The range of alternatives will be developed using data from previous studies, traffic modeling and evaluation, environmental impacts, agency input, and community and stakeholder input. The project team will identify its preferred alternative after the environmental studies have been completed and public comment has been taken into consideration during Phase 2 of the project.
When is construction anticipated to begin?
Construction is anticipated to begin in early 2027.
When will construction of the project be completed?
Construction is anticipated to take approximately two years to complete and would end in early 2029.
How will traffic be affected during construction?
Some traffic delays may are expected to occur during construction and those impacts will be considered during the selection and design of the preferred alternative. Once constructed, the project will ease traffic congestion, improve safety for commuters and play a significant role in positively influencing the long-term transportation planning of Charleston County.
Will any businesses and residences be displaced by the project?
The project team will analyze multiple alternatives and will make every effort to consider public comment and avoid and minimize impacts to businesses and residences. More information will be available as the project progresses. Information about right of way acquisitions and relocation assistance can be found in SCDOT’s Highways and You Brochure
Will the project include bike and pedestrian improvements?
Pedestrian safety is an important consideration of the project. The project will incorporate safe opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians as part of the project design where feasible.
Will the project comply with Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations?
EO 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations requires federal agencies to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations. It also requires the agencies to develop strategies to address this problem. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) follows the US Environmental Protection Agency guidance, which defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”
Preliminary demographic analysis and coordination with localities indicates that there are Environmental Justice populations within the project study area. Impacts to Environmental Justice communities will be avoided and/or minimized throughout the planning stages and any impacts to these communities will require a mitigation plan that will be addressed during the NEPA process in Phase 2.
How do I stay involved and informed?
Community engagement and input is critical to the success of this project. The project team highly encourages all members of the community and stakeholders to participate and stay engaged in the project. You can stay informed by signing up for the email and newsletter list and visiting our project website for more project information and public involvement opportunities. Please visit the Contact page and enter your information to sign up for the email list. Public meetings will also be announced on the project website, notifications will be distributed to those on the email list, signage will be placed along the corridor with public meeting information, post cards will be mailed announcing public involvement activities to those in the vicinity of the project, and announcements will be made on traditional and digital media sources. Stakeholder, business, and elected officials’ meetings will also occur during public outreach activities. Specific community-based meetings are also planned to occur as needed during the project development process
Does this project include the Lowcountry Rapid Transit Project (LCRT)?
The LCRT project is a separate project being administered by Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), funded by the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax Program. Charleston County is closely coordinating with the BCDCOG on project impact evaluations and design. The elements of the LCRT project will be included in the HWY 78 Project design and it is anticipated that the LCRT Project will be constructed before construction starts on the HWY 78 Project.
SCDOT = South Carolina Department of Transportation
FHWA = Federal Highway Administration
USACE = US Army Corps of Engineers
BCDCOG = Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments
LCRT = Lowcounty Rapid Transit
BRT = Bus Rapid Transit
NEPA = National Environmental Policy Act
EA = Environmental Assessment
FONSI = Finding of No Significant Impact