New Airport Connector Road coming, but will it help?

Charleston International Airport just set a record for the number of passengers at nearly four million, Boeing is booming, and so is Tanger. That is a lot of people in one area, sharing one road, but that is about to change.

“Everything is going on in that area, it’s a huge hub for traffic,” said Airport Connector Road (ACR) Project Manager Richard Turner.

He said, Boeing’s announcement that they were coming in 2009 prompted a study that pointed out the need for the ACR to mitigate a campus, and workforce that large.

So, in 2013 Charleston County hired a consultant to get the project going, but ran into a problem in 2015.

The project was paused while a land swap between the Charleston County Aviation Authority and Boeing was worked through and finalized, Turner said.

Good news for taxpayers, the projected cost of $43M in 2013, is the same projected cost today. The S.C. Department of Commerce is the project’s funding source.

Officials say that the project is about increasing regional connectivity and economic development opportunities. A final alternative, designed with public input, will demonstrate those qualities before being implemented.

“The regular commuter will still have a similar path,” said Turner. “If you’re coming from say, Dorchester Road, you’re still going to have a cut-through road to 526, but you’ll come out on Montague Avenue instead of coming out on International as you do today.”

There is still a long way to go. The original consultant who they paid more than $670,000, came up with three options for what the ACR could look like. Those are still in play, and the new consultant will utilize the information the original one provided. They are hoping to break ground in 2020, and the project will take 18 months to complete.

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