Ashley River Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Project

Project Status

The project will be moving forward in two phases. The first phase will consist of intersection improvements at the U.S. 17 Northbound exit ramp at Lockwood Drive. Design and permitting for this phase is underway and construction will begin once the process is complete. The second phase is the bicycle and pedestrian path which is currently being designed with construction expected to begin in 2016.

Project Description

The goal of the Ashley River Bridge Retrofit project is to provide bicycle and pedestrian access between West Ashley and the Charleston peninsula. It involves the retrofit of the northbound US 17 Ashley River Bridge to provide a dedicated shared use lane that would represent a major extension of the West Ashley Greenway.

STUDIES CONDUCTED
Consultants working for Charleston County, in coordination with SCDOT staff, have conducted studies to develop a feasible plan to safely accomplish this goal. In 2007 Atlantic South Consulting Services in cooperation with Dennis Corporation conducted a feasibility study which identified alternative routes for the West Ashley approach alignment to the bridge. At that time, it was envisioned that a cantilevered shared use structure could be retrofit onto the existing Ashley River Bridge structure providing a separated path to the peninsula.

Click here to view the 2007 Ashley River Bridge Study

Subsequent to the 2007 study, Atlantic South Consulting Services teamed with HDR, Inc. to prepare a detailed study of the existing conditions of the northbound US 17 Bridge to determine if it were possible to retrofit a shared use lane onto the existing structure.

Through the course of the study, it was discovered that the additional loads created by the retrofitted bike/ped lane would exceed the allowable load limits of the existing bridge. The findings of the study completed in 2010 have made it apparent that it is not possible to attach a cantilevered shared use lane onto the bridge without significant reconstruction or complete replacement of the structure.

Click here to view the 2010 Summary Report

Charleston County continues to pursue an option to provide bicycle and pedestrian access across the northbound US 17 Ashley River Bridge. Therefore, a Traffic Study of the bridge was recently completed by HDR, Inc. to determine the feasibility of converting the outer right-hand northbound lane to a dedicated bike/ped lane separated from the traffic lanes by a barrier. This option would taper the existing four-lane traffic into three lanes within the approach to the bridge. The study evaluated the traffic impacts if one travel lane were removed. Based on current traffic volumes, the studied results are favorable. However, further study is recommended in order to provide an optimal and safe condition for both motorized and non-motorized traffic.

Click here to view the 2011 Ashley River Bridge Traffic Study
Click here to view an Alternate Approach Route Option

In 2015 Charleston County and it’s consultant, HDR, Inc. completed an update to the 2011 traffic study with new traffic counts completed in 2015 and utilizing the most recently published regional travel demand model forecasts, which is used to project traffic volumes forward to year 2040. The study provided a confirmation of the proposed design concept and provided a reflection of future operations based on the updated regional traffic forecasts.

Click here to view the 2015 Ashley River Bridge Traffic Study

In 2016 Charleston County constructed Phase 1 of the project which included the installation of a new left turn lane for motorist using the US17 NB exit ramp to Lockwood Drive and Bee St. These improvements provided relief to congestion experienced at this intersection and allowed for Phase 2 to move forward. Phase 2 was the testing of the lane closure across the bridge to measure impact of traffic along Folly Road, US17 and SC61. The test phase was started April 2nd and completed May 13th.

Click here to view the 2016 Lane Closure Evaluation Report

Click here to view an info graphic of the Lane Closure Evaluation results

Key benefits related to the project:

  • Connecting downtown Charleston to the West Ashley Greenway
  • Recreational and aesthetic value for the community
  • Provides a safe alternative mode of transportation for commuters and visitors to the Charleston area
Project Documents

Not available at this time

Public Meetings

Charleston County Government hosted community meeting to discuss Ashley River Bridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Path project. The meeting was held on Thursday, Aug. 27, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at The Citadel Holliday Alumni Center, located at 69 Hagood Ave in Charleston.

The public meeting was operated in an open house format from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a brief presentation given at 6:30. There was not a public Q & A but staff was on hand to answer individual questions one-on-one. All of the items presented at the public meeting are provided below for review.

 Anyone with questions about the meeting or the project may contact the Charleston County Transportation Development at (843) 202-6140 or email us at arbinfo@charlestoncounty.org.