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Charleston County approves plans for Airport Connector Road

Staff //April 21, 2022//

Charleston County approves plans for Airport Connector Road

Staff //April 21, 2022//

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Rapid expansion has become the norm at Charleston International Airport. New partnerships and connections led to a record number of passengers in 2021, and now, an effort is underway to help alleviate traffic that has spilled out from the airport to surrounding roadways. 

The Charleston County Transportation and Development Department is set to receive $16.1 million in federal funding for the Airport Connector Road, a project that was originally announced in 2013 but was put on hold due to issues involving the use of land controlled by Joint Base Charleston.  

The Charleston County Aviation Authority will use these funds, which come as part of President Biden’s $1.5 trillion spending bill, to construct a new, five-lane road leading directly to the airport entrance. The goal of the project is to alleviate traffic congestion caused by commuters to Boeing, the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center and other prominent destinations off Interstate 526. 

“We’re looking at over 5 million passengers this year, which will be a banner year for us or any airport in South Carolina,” said Elliott Summey, executive director and CEO of the aviation authority. “Having our own dedicated thoroughfare to and from the 526 will really help enhance the travel experience.” 

Handling passenger growth has quickly become the top priority at Charleston. In 2013, the Airport Connector Road project was announced as a future-proofing effort. Today, the need for such a project has become clear. 

Recently, the aviation authority and Boeing negotiated a land swap that would allow the County to consider alternatives for the road that would bypass the land owned by Joint Base Charleston and ensure economic advantage for future development in the area. While the project’s primary focus is on alleviating traffic for morning and afternoon commuters, the increased traffic capacity should also allow for further economic growth in and around North Charleston. 

Aviation authority staff will continue to consider new options and variations for road alignment to maximize these benefits. Construction is expected to begin in 2024. 

Those interested in learning more about the project are encouraged to attend a public hearing at the end of the third quarter this year.