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The Planet Green Tree Service Difference

At Planet Green Tree Service, we are firm believers that trees make the world a better place. They provide us with verdant beauty, cool shade, and emergency shelter. They raise our home values, add personality to our neighborhoods, and provide us with clean air to breathe. When your home or business has well-maintained, healthy trees, everyone benefits. That's why we are so passionate about providing our customers with dependable tree services in the Lowcountry.

We believe that honest prices, state-of-the-art equipment, friendly arborists, and good old-fashioned hard work are what set us apart from our competition. With more than 33 years of service in South Carolina, you can rest easy knowing every member of the Planet Green team is committed to the following:

  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
  • Provide you with exemplary tree care services
  • Arrive at your home or business on time and ready to work
  • Provide you with affordable service rates
  • Meet or exceed our industry standards
  • Utilize the utmost safety when removing or maintaining your trees or shrubs
  • Have full insurance to protect themselves and your home

Our customers mean a lot to us, which is why we strive to provide them the best, most helpful customer service in our industry. When you hire our company to perform a tree service in cityname, know that we take this responsibility seriously and will always treat your home like we would treat our own. At Planet Green Tree Service, you won't ever have to worry about sneaky hidden fees or outrageous pricing. We believe every homeowner and business owner should have access to affordable tree services, which is why we set our rates at reasonable levels. Our job is to protect your home, your trees, and also your wallet!

Whether your home has overgrown trees that need trimming or you have an unsightly stump that needs grinding, our team of tree experts is here to help. Curious what kind of tree care work we provide to homeowners in South Carolina?

Planet Green specializes in the following areas:

Tree Trimming in James Island

Have you noticed your favorite tree growing in a strange shape? Are your trees or shrubs so overgrown that it's making your property and home look unkempt? Are the trees near your home weighed down by dangerous dead branches? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it might be time to speak with a Planet Green Tree Service professional to find a solution.

Like anything that lives, trees respond to their environment. When trees are not properly maintained, they can cause a whole host of problems for the homeowner. Overgrowth doesn't just look bad - it can be a potential safety hazard and liability for your home. To prevent this from happening, it's crucial that your trees are trimmed and pruned regularly. Trimming your trees and shrubs gives your home a tidy, appealing look and facilitates healthy plant and tree growth.

Because every tree and shrub is different, you must approach tree trimming with a plan. Before you start hacking at your trees with a machete, be sure to contact Planet Green Tree Service. Our team of expert arborists will come to your home and determine the best path to take for your tree trimming needs. We always take into account variables like the strengths, weaknesses, and species of your trees.

 Large Tree Removal James Island, SC

Benefits of Tree Trimming in James Island

For some folks, tree trimming seems like a minor detail in the grand scheme of homeownership. It can be a tedious job, but keeping your trees trimmed and well-maintained is more important than you might think. Below are just a few of the many benefits of keeping your trees and shrubs trimmed:

Tree Trimming in James Island

Tree Health

Part of the Planet Green pruning and trimming process includes the removal of damaged, broken, dead, and diseased branches. When ignored, these dead or dying branches can cause harmful fungi to wreak havoc on the trees around your home or business. Removing these weakened branches helps prevent fungi and keeps your trees healthy. In addition, tree trimming also lets more sunlight and air circulation reach your trees, boosting overall health.

Safety

Safety

As longtime residents of South Carolina, we know how dangerous hurricanes and heavy storms can be. Strong winds from these natural occurrences can cause branches to fall or even be carried away with significant force. This is concerning for many homeowners, especially those who have trees lining their driveways, recreational areas, and walking paths. When you trust Planet Green with your trimming needs, you are actually doing your part to "storm proof" your home from hazardous tree-related accidents. If you have low-hanging branches close to your roof or business, pruning these trees can provide more safety and overhead clearance. That way, don't have an anxiety attack every time a storm rolls through your neighborhood.

Aesthetics

Aesthetics

Nobody likes the look of an overgrown, disheveled tree. Tree trimming improves the general appearance of your tree and makes your whole yard and home look better. Tree trimming also prevents your trees from growing weak branches and crotches and helps stop branches from intertwining with one another.

Developmental Tree Trimming

Developmental Tree Trimming

Pruning younger trees is key to protecting them as they age. This vital tree service in James Island keeps young trees aesthetically appealing and promotes proper structural integrity and optimal branch structure. In addition, as your home's landscape matures, taking the time to trim young trees reduces the chance of expensive problems like tree failure.

 Local Tree Service James Island, SC

Types of Tree Trimming

Not all tree trimming services from Planet Green Tree Service are the same. Our experts specialize in a number of different tree trimming services to ensure you are getting the right kind of trim for the appropriate situation. Because even the smallest mistake can permanently affect your tree's health, we approach every tree trimming job with surgeon-like precision. That way, you know your trees are in capable, responsible hands.

Crown Reduction

Crown Reduction

When your trees age without the proper kind of care, they can develop too many branches on their interior. Trees like this give great shade, but too much is not a good sign. That's where crown reduction trimming comes in. By reducing the density of your tree's crown, our tree care experts improve its growth rate and health. Crown density reduction also promotes a longer lifespan and a more beautiful appearance.

Deadwooding

Deadwooding

As the name implies, deadwooding involves the trimming of dead wood from your trees. Often required in urban and suburban areas, deadwooding a tree makes it look more attractive and livelier, while maintaining the health of your tree's trunk by removing rotted branches. This process also makes it safer for kids and other people who walk underneath or near your tree that may be harmed by rotting branches that fall. Other tree trimming services that Planet Green offers include: hazardous tree assessments, shrub trimming, pruning, cabling, bracing, and corrective trimming.

Stump Removal in James Island

For most property owners, removing a tree can seem like a major project. While that notion certainly isn't wrong, tree removal is more straightforward and often easier than trying to remove an unsightly stump from your yard. Have you ever wondered why you see so many yards with stumps dotted around the land? It's because they're very difficult to remove. That is why Planet Green Tree Service has been offering stump removal services in South Carolina for more than 33 years. Our skilled stump removal experts bring a wealth of knowledge and cutting-edge tools to every stump removal project they tackle.

The fact of the matter is this: trying to remove a stump on your own is an incredible undertaking. Going the "DIY" route can take weeks to complete, even if you spend an hour or two every day. There's also the issue of operating heavy machinery (which costs time and money to rent) and even light fires to expedite the process, which is dangerous. For these reasons alone, we always recommend that you bring in a professional to remove your tree stump safely and effectively.

 Tree Service James Island, SC

Benefits of Stump Removal in James Island

Better Looking Yard

Better Looking Yard

If you are a homeowner that loves sculpted hedges, beautiful landscaping, and a tidy law, removing old tree stumps will feel like a huge weight off of your chest. Stump removal not only gives your home more curb appeal, it can actually raise the value of your home. This is particularly pertinent if you are thinking about listing your home for sale in the near future.

More Space

More Space

If your yard is small, even one stump can reduce the amount of space you have in your yard. If you spend a lot of time playing sports or just enjoying your yard space, stump removal is a huge help. After all, nobody wants to toss a football around if there are a bunch of old stumps that you must avoid. Stumps also take up considerable space below ground, with their complicated root systems. Stump removal will give you and your family more room to plant flowers, grow vegetables, install a water feature, and much more.

Eliminate Unwanted Growth

Eliminate Unwanted Growth

When you leave a tree stump in your yard, you could be setting yourself up for unwanted tree growth. This kind of new growth often results in clusters of small trees popping up around the base of the stump. This problem isn't just unsightly; it can be harmful to any plants near the stump because the new trees will suck up all the water and nutrients out of your soil.

Pest Prevention

Pest Prevention

Tree stumps are notorious for harboring all sorts of pests that can damage your hard and cause expensive problems in your home. We're talking wood borers, ants, termites, and beetles. If you want to do away with these pests and protect your home, the best course of action is to contact Planet Green Tree Service for a quote on our professional tree removal services.

 Tree Removal James Island, SC

Reduce Headaches

Sure, you could take the time to do your research on how to remove a stump. You could go to Home Depot, rent a high-powered stump grinder, and risk your health trying to operate it without training. You could spend every winking moment of your free time trying to grind the stump down so you can remove it from your yard. But why go through all that trouble when a trustworthy, experienced stump removal company like Planet Green Tree Service is only a phone call away?

Our team of stump removal professionals uses state-of-the-art tools designed to keep your property damage-free during the removal process. We will turn your yard into a beautiful blank slate, so you can focus on enjoying your stump-free while we haul away all the debris.

 Tree Pruning James Island, SC

Your Premier Tree Service Company in South Carolina

With 33 years of experience, it's no wonder why so many South Carolina locals choose Planet Green Tree Service for tree trimming and stump removal in their city. Clients love us because we believe in exceeding your expectations, no matter how large or small a job is.

  • Conduct themselves in a professional manner
  • Provide you with exemplary tree care services
  • Arrive at your home or business on time and ready to work
  • Provide you with affordable service rates

Contact our office to learn more about our tree services in South Carolina or to schedule your free quote today!

Latest News in James Island, SC

Church reopens following almost a decade of litigation

A James Island church reopened Sunday after nearly ten years of litigation between the South Carolina Supreme Court and 29 parishes.JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A James Island church reopened Sunday after nearly ten years of litigation between the South Carolina Supreme Court and 29 parishes.Episcopal and Anglican churches have been fighting in court since 2012, but in August...

A James Island church reopened Sunday after nearly ten years of litigation between the South Carolina Supreme Court and 29 parishes.

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A James Island church reopened Sunday after nearly ten years of litigation between the South Carolina Supreme Court and 29 parishes.

Episcopal and Anglican churches have been fighting in court since 2012, but in August, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that eight out of the 29 total churches in the lawsuit would be returned to the Episcopal church.

One of the eight churches, St. James Episcopal Church, has spent over 200 years on James Island. Reverend Taylor Smith was called to lead the church into its new chapter.

“Today [Sunday] was our first service back so it’s very exciting for us,” Smith said. “We pray for the folks who are not here anymore; they were so sad to leave this church as you can imagine, but the Episcopal Church of South Carolina is really excited to be welcoming St. James back, and the bishop asked me to lead that effort.”

Over the last decade, the church has still held services but under the Anglican denomination.

Many members of the congregation stuck by the church during that time. Smith said they will continue to stay loyal as the church reverts to an Episcopal church.

“We’ll get an eclectic group and I just can’t know what that is; that’s part of the excitement to lead something that is very hard to identify, but it’s thrilling,” he said. “Ultimately, we are all together doing the work of God in Jesus’ name and that’s always thrilling.”

The legal battle began when the eight churches left the Episcopal Church and later joined the Anglican Church. A South Carolina Supreme Court ruling stated that the churches that left did not have proper ownership to leave based on state trust law.

The August 17 ruling states:

We direct that appropriate documentation be filed in the public record indicating the National Church and the Associated Diocese now own that real estate. From our decision today, there will be no remand. The case is over.

As for the future of the church, Smith explained that they are more traditional than other churches, which some people love.

“A lot of ideas are going to spring up from the people,” he said. “I’m not coming in with an agenda other than to keep worshiping every week and to be inviting. We will do whatever people are motivated to do.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Local pharmacies navigating shortage of children’s cold and flu medicine

Amid a strong cold and flu season, many parents are struggling to find medication specifically for their children.CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Amid a strong cold and flu season, many parents are struggling to find medication specifically for their children. In the Lowcountry, some local pharmacies say they have noticed the shortage but aren’t completely out of stock.At Plantation Pharmacy, James Island Pharmacy Technician and Manager Ashley Tyrell says they have a lot of options when ordering.“We actually order ...

Amid a strong cold and flu season, many parents are struggling to find medication specifically for their children.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Amid a strong cold and flu season, many parents are struggling to find medication specifically for their children. In the Lowcountry, some local pharmacies say they have noticed the shortage but aren’t completely out of stock.

At Plantation Pharmacy, James Island Pharmacy Technician and Manager Ashley Tyrell says they have a lot of options when ordering.

“We actually order from our wholesalers, which we have six, every day we get a shipment. And we’re constantly shopping around different ones trying to see what’s in stock, what’s out of stock and where can we get it from,” Tyrrell explains.

Just down the road, Dottie’s Pharmacy is in a similar situation, with the benefit of many wholesalers, but the knowledge of a shortage. Pharmacist Mary Kunitzer says they have been working around a shortage for a few months.

“This has been a tough season for us. We’re seeing more shortages than normal. We have been able to keep a fairly decent stock recently, but we did just sell our last Tylenol suspension for infants,” Kunitzer says.

At MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, more than 20 young children are currently being treated for a variety of respiratory diseases. Chief of Pediatric Care, Dr. Elizabeth Mack, says the continued high numbers of illness may be creating the shortage of kid’s medicine.

“We are still seeing a number of viruses RSV, COVID, influenza, para influenza adenovirus, rhinovirus enterovirus, so many human metapneumovirus,” Mack says.

Pharmacies remind people not to panic buy any shelf medication since it could make the issues worse and harder to manage. Mack says you should always talk to a pediatrician or pharmacist about medicine for children before giving them anything.

“Cough and cold medicines are actually not recommended for children, particularly young children under the age of four I know there are lots on the market and that kind of thing, but they can be risky for young children and so best to stay away from those. For kids that are in the four to six-year-old age group, I would certainly talk with the pediatrician. Older than that. You can certainly follow the directions on the bottle,” Mack says.

When it comes to pain relievers, Mack reminds people that they are not essential to get healthy again. She has heard from parents it is difficult to get and shares sympathy for any child who is sick.

“I wish I could say that acetaminophen or ibuprofen would heal us faster. That’s not necessarily the case. And so often it’s a comfort measure, which is certainly understandable, especially when it comes to children,” Mack says.

When there is a declared shortage of medicine, many local pharmacies are able to compound their own products to provide for patients. At Dottie’s Kunitzer explains how when a name brand product that is universally difficult to get runs out, they can begin making it.

“Now that we are out of that medication, we are looking into options to compound. We can only compound once a product is not available. So, if it’s commercially made, we can’t compound it until it’s no longer available in stock. So that is a good option that we will look into for being able to service our patients,” Kunitzer says.

Tyrell elaborates to say compounding pharmacies can also work specifically with dosages to make sure children’s medication is accessible.

“With us being able to still be able to get up in a powder form, and or capsules, we’re able to compound that down and make it into a children’s dose. And so thankfully, we were able to do that we have a recipe slash formula to be able to do that. And they at the lab are able to do that very quickly as well,” Tyrrell says.

MUSC also has a compounding pharmacy. Dr. Mack reminds people to always talk to a pediatrician or pharmacist before switching dosages or alternatives with your child. She recommends the following sites for detailed information about child medicine dosing.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Mayor: 2 illegal stop signs cause confusion, controversy in James Island neighborhood

Two fake stop signs have been found in one James Island neighborhood, which the mayor says has caused confusion and controversy between town officials and localJAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Two fake stop signs have been found in one James Island neighborhood, which the mayor says has caused confusion and controversy between town officials and locals.A neighbor’s security camera captured the Town of James Island’s public works department removing the illegal stop signs from the corner of Clearview Drive and Tennant Str...

Two fake stop signs have been found in one James Island neighborhood, which the mayor says has caused confusion and controversy between town officials and local

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Two fake stop signs have been found in one James Island neighborhood, which the mayor says has caused confusion and controversy between town officials and locals.

A neighbor’s security camera captured the Town of James Island’s public works department removing the illegal stop signs from the corner of Clearview Drive and Tennant Street on Oct. 21.

“You cannot put your own stop signs out. You can always come to the town and make a request, and it will always be merited,” Mayor Bill Woolsey said. “We won’t often be able to put them up, but you can’t put them up yourself, and how we respond is we immediately contact SCDOT. We would have been very surprised if they put a stop sign out there without telling us beforehand.”

A worker could be seen wiggling one of the signs a couple of times before lifting it out of the ground and placing it in the back of a truck.

Not only were the signs put in illegally, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, but the ground next to the street was painted with white stop bars, as well.

“It’s the first I’ve ever heard about it, and I hope it doesn’t spread,” Woolsey said. “[I’m surprised] someone would come and paint a line in the road and buy some online stop signs and install them themselves in the middle of the night or early in the morning.”

Deputies said they were patrolling the area the night before and didn’t see any new signs, but when they went back the next day, they said the signs, which were apparently purchased online, had been put in overnight.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation has also confirmed they have not installed any stop signs at the intersection.

Neighbors initially thought the stop signs were put in by DOT to help with speeders and said the fake signs hurts their ability to address the issue.

“I guess somebody duped us, and they were putting in fake stop signs,” neighbor Jim Boyd said. “They looked to all of us legitimate and 100% real. We are just in favor of anything and everything that we can get people to slow down. Yes, we understand first responders need to get here quickly as well, but we want everything and anything.”

However, Woolsey said he believes the signs did not pop up at random.

“If we find out who did it, they will be charged, and we believe that, most likely, it was someone who lives close by,” he said.

Woolsey also said there was a recent incident where an illegal speed bump was found and removed near the intersection. He said the speed bump had black and yellow stripes and was similar to one found in parking lots across the Lowcountry.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

National Park Service awards money to survey African American settlement communities in SC

For too long the Lowcountry’s African American settlement communities haven’t received the attention or support they deserve. So thinks Chloe Stuber, senior city planner for Charleston.So she applied for, and received, a $75,000 National Park Service grant on behalf of the city to help fund an outreach and documentation project — an effort that could help settlement communities get onto the National Register of Historic Places.That designation, in turn, could give representatives of these communities a voice t...

For too long the Lowcountry’s African American settlement communities haven’t received the attention or support they deserve. So thinks Chloe Stuber, senior city planner for Charleston.

So she applied for, and received, a $75,000 National Park Service grant on behalf of the city to help fund an outreach and documentation project — an effort that could help settlement communities get onto the National Register of Historic Places.

That designation, in turn, could give representatives of these communities a voice to express concerns, and it could lead to better protections against encroaching suburbanization, Stuber said.

The project also will help city officials achieve another goal: a more complete mapping of the many historic Black communities that date to the end of the Civil War — communities established by and for the formerly enslaved where Gullah-Geechee culture and tradition could be safely and fully expressed.

“I see this effort as being long overdue,” she said. “These settlement communities have been overlooked, erased from our history books. They’re just not present even though they’ve contributed so much.”

By documenting them — and their various assets, such as burial grounds, churches, schools and community centers — officials can forge relationships with civic leaders and better collaborate on issues that impact their residents, Stuber said.

“I think this has a lot to do with community identity and power in some way,” she said. “If people defining the issues presented to policy makers don’t know about these communities and their histories, how can they be good stewards and good partners?”

So the NPS grant creates an opportunity for settlement communities to claim power that has been stripped of them, or never achieved in first place, Stuber said.

The city of Charleston, working in partnership with Charleston County and the Town of Mount Pleasant, received one of two similar NPS “Underrepresented Community Grants” this month. Another $75,000 went to Sumter County. The official purpose of the money is “to support the identification, planning, and development of nominations or amendments to the National Register of Historic Places for diverse communities,” according to Maria Cavins, an NPS public affairs specialist.

In this round of funding, NPS will distribute a total of $1.2 million for 21 projects in 16 states and Washington, D.C.

The Underrepresented Community Grant Program is meant to diversify nominations submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. Fundamentally, it’s part of the park service’s historic preservation efforts, which include surveying properties and developing new nominations to the National Register.

In the Charleston area, Scanlonville wants its cemetery listed on the register. The Phillips Community along U.S. Highway 41 also is seeking designation as a national historic site.

Other settlement communities that could benefit from this effort include Cross Cut and Down Cut on James Island, Maryville-Ashleyville in West Ashley, and Seven Mile, Ten Mile and Snowden in Mount Pleasant.

“We’re trying to structure it in a way that really does maintain community agency in the work,” Stuber said. “This program will be a strong fit for some, but we’re not going to survey communities that don’t want to be surveyed.”

Richard Habersham, spokesman of the Phillips Community, said development traditionally has happened without much concern for established Black neighborhoods, and with little or no effort to engage them before subdivisions and roads are built.

When construction of the sprawling Dunes West subdivision began in 2002, developers focused on the project itself and not its inevitable impacts over time on neighboring communities, he said. As a result, Highway 41 became overly congested and Black residents pinched economically by the changes that ensued. Infrastructure upgrades were left for government to grapple with.

Getting national designation as a historic site will provide the Phillips Community with a stronger voice, Habersham said.

“With a third (party) at the table, governments and developers are forced to consider their needs,” he said.

Longtime residents are not trying to stop all development, he added. Some in the community want to take advantage of high real estate values, and many welcome the improvements and amenities that come with new development.

But they also want to protect the community they know, avoid wholesale transformation, maintain affordability and celebrate their cultural heritage, he said.

In August 2021, the community was designated a Charleston County Historic District, adding a layer of development review.

Brian Turner, president and CEO of the Preservation Society of Charleston, said he expects his organization to provide strategic support for the city’s surveying effort. It will also contribute some funding.

“We have capacity in terms of staffing and resources,” Turner said. “We’re hoping for a strong partnership in terms of outreach and community connections.”

The Preservation Society encouraged the city to apply for the NPS grant since there was no clear funding mechanism in place to assist officials in executing aspects of the 2021 comprehensive City Plan.

“We helped them meet the terms of the grant and create positive new approaches for evaluating these kinds of resources,” Turner said, adding that any new approach mustn’t limit itself to an assessment of the past but must also find ways to help settlement communities survive and thrive.

Historic sites added to the National Register gain three advantages, Turner said. They benefit from added protections; they become eligible for new funding possibilities; and they achieve formal recognition of their historic value, something worthy of celebration.

“I’ve seen how these stories uplift communities and give them a sense of pride,” he said.

Others might be skeptical of the bureaucratic process, which is understandable, Turner said. Some suspicions are valid. You can’t fault people for distrusting a system that has not served them well historically.

Nevertheless, we are in a critical moment, a land boom that is transforming the landscape, and settlement communities are particularly vulnerable, he said.

“We need to go in eyes wide open and know that this is a community empowerment tool,” Turner said.

Ultimately it will up to the settlement communities themselves to decide how to proceed.

Should they collaborate with Stuber and her team, then relationships can be forged and lines of communication opened.

“We would know who to go to if there is a development prospect,” Stuber said.

And an inventory that’s more complete would help city planners and civic leaders develop effective preservation plans based on the priorities of local communities.

That’s the endgame: ensuring that growth and change don’t overwhelm African American residents whose ancestors established these neighborhoods 160 years ago.

Cost to extend I-526 to James Island more than triples to $2.35 billion

The price tag for the Mark Clark Extension linking West Ashley to Johns and James islands has more than tripled to $2.35 billion and Charleston County would be responsible for most of the bill.Some opponents are saying the excessive new cost figure for the final loop of the Interstate 526 system shows the route has gotten too expensive and should be dropped.“It is time to say enough is enough,” said Jason Crowley of the Coastal Conservation League. “This to me is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Cou...

The price tag for the Mark Clark Extension linking West Ashley to Johns and James islands has more than tripled to $2.35 billion and Charleston County would be responsible for most of the bill.

Some opponents are saying the excessive new cost figure for the final loop of the Interstate 526 system shows the route has gotten too expensive and should be dropped.

“It is time to say enough is enough,” said Jason Crowley of the Coastal Conservation League. “This to me is a perfect opportunity for Charleston County Council to walk away from this project.”

The S.C. Department of Transportation is asking the county to agree on moving forward, but with the local share of the project pegged at more than $1.9 billion it’s not clear where Charleston County would get the money.

Also favoring the completion is the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, which sees rising expenses as a reason to get it done as soon as possible, and the city of Charleston.

“No question, the cost estimates for major infrastructure projects in South Carolina are exploding, and (Interstate) 526 is no exception,” Mayor John Tecklenburg said in a prepared statement. “But that doesn’t change the fact that our West Ashley and Island residents need and deserve the traffic relief and public safety improvements this project will bring.”

The connection between Interstate 526 and the James Island Connector, aimed at easing traffic on and off Johns Island, has been debated for decades and growing more costly all the time.

The DOT’s new cost estimate is more than three times the $725 million price calculated in 2015, but all of the increase would fall to Charleston County because the state’s share of the cost was capped at $420 million in a 2019 agreement with the county.

Charleston County had expected to contribute about $305 million, not more than six times that amount.

“We’ll wait to see how the county responds,” said state Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. “Our recommendation remains ... to proceed with preliminary activity on the project and get to the point where it would be shovel-ready.”

In a letter to the county April 25, Hall said DOT is asking the county and the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank Board for approval to spend $150 million for ongoing work to make the road plan ready for bids. The county would pay half that amount.

Beyond that, the highway department wants the county to demonstrate “a reasonable financial approach to the entire project.”

“I don’t know if people are going to have an appetite for it,” said County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “Where are we going to get the extra money from?”

County Council was expected to discuss the issue at its April 26 meeting, but instead Pryor announced that Hall would be attending the council’s Finance Committee meeting on May 5. No member of council mentioned the road project or the new cost estimate at the meeting, but several members of the audience did.

“My personal opinion is, we should just cut our losses and not spend another dime on the project,” said Linda Miller of Johns Island.

Supporters and opponents of the road plan have expressed shock over the new cost estimate. Bradley Taggart, a co-founder of Charlestonians For I-526, told County Council members that a temporary spike in commodity prices was likely to blame and could prove temporary.

“We could be looking at a project that costs half as much in six month’s time as the market rebalances,” he told council members.

The county and the state have each spent about $12.5 million on the project so far, Pryor said earlier in the day.

“The longer this thing is delayed, the more it’s going to cost,” said Pryor.

Hall said one reason the cost has gone up so much is the soaring price of real estate in Charleston County. Acquiring the land needed for the road would cost an estimated $261 million, she said.

The DOT estimate assumes construction could begin in 2028, and also assumes there would be two or three years of litigation before that.

A legal challenge to the project has been winding its way through the courts for years already, with the Coastal Conservation League fighting Charleston County’s 2019 agreement to pay all the costs exceeding $420 million.

Crowley, CCL’s communities and transportation senior program director, suggested the new cost estimate could open the door to negotiating a way out of the contract were the county to seek an exit.

The county is currently spending about $200 million improving Johns Island roads, the Limehouse bridge over the Stono River and the intersection of U.S. Highway 17 and Main Road.

The Coastal Conservation League has strongly opposed the I-526 extension, calling it in 2021 “a last-century highway project that benefits few and impacts many.” A community organization called Nix 526 has also been fighting the project, and Charleston Waterkeeper and the S.C. Wildlife Federation have raised objections.

Supporters of the proposed roadway include the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors and the Trident CEO Council, the city of Charleston, Charlestonians For I-526, and many residents of Kiawah Island.

“The new cost estimate is a direct result of what happens when a critical project is continually delayed, costs inevitably go up,” said the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. “The current cost of the project heightens the important need of completing this effort now.”

While Crowley said it’s time to say “enough is enough” the Chamber said “Now is the time to double down on our efforts” in a statement April 26.

Johns Island residents have been divided on the project, which would make it easier to get on and off the island but could increase development there. The island’s population has been growing quickly and many new residential subdivisions are underway.

Charleston governs a large part of Johns Island and has long supported the road project. City Council on April 26 unanimously adopted a resolution urging the county to continue moving forward.

If the extension were completed, there would be a highway loop around Charleston, with the interstate running from Mount Pleasant across Daniel Island, North Charleston and West Ashley, then becoming more of a low-speed parkway across Johns Island and connecting to the James Island Connector on James Island.

While the project would extend from the end of I-526 in West Ashley, DOT calls it the Mark Clark Extension. It’s separate from ongoing plans to widen the existing parts of the interstate from West Ashley to Mount Pleasant.

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