Images courtesy LCRT

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (COG), alongside the state Department of Transportation and Charleston County, is getting to work on improving sections of highway on the Charleston peninsula for the COG’s upcoming Lowcountry Rapid Transit program.

The LCRT program, a first of its kind infrastructure plan for South Carolina, would create a 21.5-mile bus-rapid-transit corridor connecting Summerville to downtown Charleston’s hospital district. The project is expected to not only streamline traffic flow between the areas, but also bolster pedestrian access in areas along the corridor. 

“Transit-oriented development along the LCRT line will enhance community connections to food, jobs, education and healthcare,” COG executive director Ron Mitchum said in a January press release. “Walkable, mixed-used, vibrant and connected communities are the clear vision of this effort.”

A proposal brought by the City of Charleston’s Committee on Traffic and Transportation calls for the construction, reconstruction and/or improvement of certain segments of roadways in the state highway system. In Charleston, some of the roads affected by this phase of the LCRT program will include Hagood Avenue, Spring Street, Lockwood Drive, Bee Street, Courtenay Drive, Calhoun Street, Meeting Street and the King Street Extension. No traffic lanes will be taken by this project, according to project leaders, with LCRT operating in mixed-traffic on the peninsula once complete.

“We have completed the 30% design, the environmental documents and the project development,” principal designer Sharon Hollis said at the committee meeting on Tuesday night. “As we move into the engineering phase, SCDOT will be taking over the management of the design and construction of the project in partnership with the COG and County and municipal partners.”

Hollis said this would be the only agreement required for the project, but as the design process continues, project leaders expect to work hand-in-hand with the City of Charleston. “So this would not be the end of the collaboration,” she said.

The Traffic and Transportation Committee on Tuesday accepted the proposal, and it was approved again by the full City Council later that evening. 

The COG recently received $800,000 in funding for the LCRT project from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration for the second phase of development planning, following an initial design grant in 2018. 

We will continue to cover the LCRT project as it evolves. 

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