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Harmon: Penny sales tax won't pay for Phase II of Henry Brown Blvd. Ext.

  • Thursday, March 13, 2014

Provided This SCDOT rendering shows what Phase II of the Henry Brown Boulevard Extention is expected to look like.

Goose Creek is a bedroom community, and most people leave the city when they go to work.

With that in mind, a recent road-widening of Henry Brown Boulevard could have benefits for many residents.

Goose Creek City Administrator Dennis Harmon talked with The Gazette about the issue.

The Henry Brown Boulevard Extension runs from Redbank Road to Liberty Hall Road. It will be widened to four lanes with a center turning lane during Phase I of a two-phase project.

The widening is being paid for by the penny sales tax Berkeley County citizens voted for in 2008.

This road is currently owned by the S.C Department of Transportation.

Phase I work is expected to start sometime close to October, Harmon said. Phase II will bring a new, two-lane highway with a divided median. This section will run from Liberty Hall Road to Montague Plantation Boulevard, which connects to U.S. 52.

Harmon said he could not predict the start or finish dates of Phase II because it is dependent on funding. This part of the road will be owned by Berkeley County.

The penny sales tax will not be able to pay for the completion of this project, according to Harmon. The tax would have to be continued to fund the completion of Phase II.

There was $23 million initially allocated to Phase II, but that is dependent on collections. The first date for renewal of the one-cent transportation tax by referendum would be 2016, Harmon said.

Phase II will run directly through newer neighborhoods such as Brickhope Plantation.

“The city has been working on this transportation project more than 20 years,” Harmon said. “I conceived the project idea. All of the property was raw, undeveloped property at the time.”

Brickhope Plantation residents have brought concerns to Goose Creek City Council about the dangers of truck traffic. They asked for a 35 mph speed limit to make the road safe for neighborhood children.

Harmon said he thinks the county will want to keep the speed limit at 45 mph.

Harmon said it is a public road paid for by tax dollars, and that truck drivers pay the same taxes.

It’s not likely there will be much truck traffic on this road, Harmon added.

Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler said truckers are looking for the fastest route to the interstate.

The port in Charleston is the main cause of truck traffic in the region.

Improvements on I-26 at the Remount Road interchange improved traffic flow.

Most trucks that leave the port travel down I-526, Remount Road and then I-26, meaning this traffic does not come through Goose Creek.

There is a new inland port in Greer that will reduce truck traffic overall by using rail to transport goods, according to Harmon. These rail lines will bypass Goose Creek and run through Summerville.

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