‘We had a lightbulb moment’: Charleston County unveils revised plans for Highway 41 widening project

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County unveiled their new revised plans for the Highway 41 widening project on Thursday. For the first time in years, some Phillips Community residents say they feel heard.

“This is what we’ve been trying to get done since this thing started. Because we knew there were other alternatives that would not affect anyone,” says Fred Smalls, a lifetime resident of the Phillips Community.

For months, the tight-knit Phillips Community members have been pushing back against the county’s plans to widen Highway 41 that would potentially cut into their property.

“To come through here and run 5 lanes – as you can see there’s houses on both sides of the highway. People would lose homes and property,” says Smalls.

Charleston County leaders decided to listen to the residents and made some serious revisions to the plan. In this alternative project, the Phillips Community would be virtually untouched.

“This is the poster child for how public outreach can really form what a project looks like and what you end up getting on something of this significance,” says Richard Turner, Deputy of Public Works.

Turner says after extensive research, they realized that routing the expansion of Highway 41 through the Dunes West community could actually have more benefits.

According to the county, some of the goals of this widening project include:

  • Meets purpose and need (reducing traffic congestion)
  • Minimize impacts to the Phillips Community
  • Enhance regional connectivity
  • Sensitive to the needs of all surrounding communities

Right now, not everyone is on board with the plan. Dickie Schweers, a Charleston County Councilmember, says “I’m not ready to commit to whatever you’re calling this alternative right now” and plans to compare this alternative with prior options.

County leaders say they will be taking this proposal to the Town of Mount Pleasant next week and will be meeting with the surrounding neighborhoods to get feedback.

Charleston County Council will have the option to vote on this plan at their next council meeting on March 18th.