There are two key factors contributing to this daily traffic jam coming onto the island. 1.) The merge-point coming off of the Stono River Bridge. 2.) The inadequate intersection at Maybank Highway and River Road.
Solution: Better intersections and additional lanes
Charleston County completed the widening of Maybank Highway between River Road and the Stono River Bridge in 2018, eliminating the merge-point coming onto the island and drastically improving traffic there. See our letter in the The Post & Courier about the completion.
Developers and the County are constructing "pitch-forks" between River Road and the Stono River Bridge. These additional two-lane roads will run parallel to Maybank Highway and connect to River Road. This will disperse traffic and reduce the congestion at Maybank Highway and River Road.
Construction on the northern pitch-folk could begin in 2019.
The southern pitch-fork is the only current plan to reduce congestion leaving the island. There is no timeline for construction on the Southern pitch-fork, but we must expedite this process.
Current Action Items
Complete southern pitch-fork before 2018 This will further reduce the congestion at Maybank and River by allowing those traveling south on River Road (toward Kiawah) to take this alternative route.
Improve the intersection at River Road and Maybank Highway The current projects do not address the congestion leaving the Island. We feel this intersection is a major issue on Johns Island, and will continue to be the most congested area. All options for this intersection should be explored. Note: Roundabouts reduce traffic delays by 20% and 80% and reduce fatal accidents by 90%.
On-street parking and a center turn-lane in urban areas along Maybank Highway (between River Road and Main Road) This was part of the comprehensive plan for Maybank Highway until funds were suddenly shifted to other projects in the County. A dedicated turn-lane is critical for improving traffic flow, while on-street parking is important to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety.
Ask the County to coordinate residential and commercial building standards along Maybank Highway Maybank Highway will soon become our "downtown," and it must be developed thoughtfully. We do not want another Folly Road or Savannah Highway on Johns Island.
Improve road connectivity within the urban growth boundary Connectivity and route options are the only way to reduce traffic congestion in the long term. A good road network disperses vehicles to many roads, instead forcing everyone onto a single "collector" road - such as Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant or Folly Road on James Island. Furthermore, alternate routes give drivers an opportunity to avoid traffic congestion when it does occur. We will ask the City and the County to study how our existing road network can be improved quickly.
Maybank Highway Traffic Study
Current Pitchfork Plans
Comprehensive Plan for Maybank Highway
Related Public Officials
Leon Stavrinakis State Representative (119th District) 803.734.3039 Website
Anna Johnson Charleston County Representative (District 8) 843.795.3970 Website
Marvin Wagner City Council Member - (District 5) Website
Molli Lemin Project Manager (Charleston County) 843.202.6154