This afternoon residents are invited to walk across the Exit 197 overpass but next Monday is the real deal, when the now-finished road project will be open for traffic.
Berkeley County and Summerville officials gathered atop the overpass on Thursday for a ribbon-cutting and “drive over” to begin festivities and celebrate the new Nexton Interchange, a project that is said to help alleviate traffic congestion on North Main Street in Summerville.
Town and county officials seem to agree – relief from traffic is the big thing.
“This is the relief we’ve been waiting for, for traffic on Main Street,” Summerville Town Councilwoman Christine Czarnik said.
The project’s estimated cost is $88 million. Berkeley County is the project owner, funding nearly $55 million. The SC State Ports Authority is funding $8 million, South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank is funding nearly $22 million, and the Town of Summerville is funding $4 million.
The project reportedly finished under budget and ahead of schedule.
Three frontage roads from Holiday Drive, Business Park and Maple Street extension toward U.S. 78 opened in April.
SCDOT Commissioner Robby Robbins recognized Banks Construction, Michael Baker International and Infrastructure Consulting and Engineering.
“What a great job you all did and for all of your subcontractors that helped you, you just get an A-plus,” he said.
In addition to finishing the interchange, officials have also finished the new Nexton Parkway. Brent Gibadlo, vice president and general manager of Nexton, said the parkway consists of five miles of road along with “miles and miles” of new public multipurpose trials.
“This new interchange along with this parkway create a critical new transportation network for our region,” he said.
“At Nexton, we’re very fortunate – we really spend most of our time every day thinking about how we can improve and enhance someone’s quality of life,” he added. “With this new interchange, along with new medical and educational services, housing, shopping and entertainment opportunities, and the region’s next employment and commerce center – all located here at Nexton – I’m confident that we will help maintain and perhaps if we’re even lucky, enhance the quality of life for everyone in this region.”
Summerville Mayor Wiley Johnson said the interchange would not be possible without Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler and his staff, Berkeley County and Nexton.
“We could not have done it from Summerville without them, however, our staff has done a fantastic job in helping out, and I hope we’ve been a significant part of this project. I’m proud of it,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be another be another way into, out of, through Summerville – and it doesn’t just stop with this interchange right here. This will go on through into the heart of Summerville, and as we improve the roads it will help the traffic on North Main tremendously. I look forward to that relief – I think all of us do.”
Peagler said an average of 19,000 vehicles are expected to drive on interchange every day. Peagler recognized the partners involved – Berkeley County, SC State Ports Authority, SCDOT, South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Town of Summerville.
“Simply put: this project is proof that great things can be accomplished when everybody works together,” Peagler said.
Following the ribbon cutting, speakers hopped into two MeElveen convertibles and did a “drive over” the overpass.
Berkeley County is inviting the public to walk the Nexton Parkway Interchange project Thursday afternoon from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The public can sign-up for the drop-in style walk-over the bridge at https://bit.ly/2w4Y6au. Residents must sign-up to attend the walk. Attendees will not be allowed to walk on exit ramps or the interstate.
By Monica Kreber firstname.lastname@example.org