MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCBD) — It may be the fastest growing county in the area over the next two decades. Estimates show close to 250,000 people will call Berkeley County home by 2025.
Along with a large population growth, comes a growing number of infrastructure projects.
Despite a small staff the county’s director of engineering, Tom Lewis, says they are on track to finish within their timelines. Some projects he says may even be under budget.
Lewis says he grew up in Berkeley County, and never expected to see what he sees now. “I never thought about it. It was something that came about completely by surprise.”
He’s surprised by the rural county’s rapid growth. Many highways and intersections now see bottlenecks and backups, but Lewis says he’s confident they will be able to stay ahead of the growing commuting nightmare.
Right now many projects are in the works; like the widening of Henry E. Brown Jr. Boulevard. Phase one is 2.2 miles long, it costs about 27 million dollars and Lewis says it’s 40 percent complete.
“The completion date for our contract is November 30th 2019. We plan to come in under budget and ahead of schedule.”
Despite freezing and snowy weather, Lewis says phase one of the widening project on Clements Ferry is also on track. Nearly 4 miles of roadway from 526 to Jack Primus will be 5 lanes by the end of 2019. The first phase will cost about 44 million dollars and is 29.9 percent complete.
Because the county has so many ongoing projects, phase one of both Clements Ferry and Henry E. Brown Jr. Boulevard are being managed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The county will be managing phase two.
Another problem area is the St. James intersection where highway 52 meets highway 176. Right now the county is drawing up early plans to build a 176 flyover. The project is listed in the half cent sales tax referendum, but still lacks additional funding needed to make it happen. It’s estimated that the project would cost around 88 million dollars.
In the meantime, the county is doing traffic analysis and environmental impact studies to make sure the flyover would be worth the money.