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Lowcountry Rapid Transit project gets key federal approval, 30% design plans complete

System set to open to public in late 2026
This model shows what a rapid transit stop might look like on Remount Road.
This model shows what a rapid transit stop might look like on Remount Road.(Lowcountry Rapid Transit)
Published: Jul. 24, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2021 at 11:49 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A project to bring bus rapid transit to the Lowcountry is now several steps closer to completion.

This month, the Federal Transit Administration approved the Lowcountry Rapid Transit system’s environmental document. That document, which studies potential negative impacts to the community and the natural environment, was two years’ worth of work, Sharon Hollis, a principal transit planner for the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, said.

“It is a significant milestone and a requirement for us to move to the next phase of the project,” she said.

Also finished are 30% design plans, including starting and ending points and station locations.

Also finished are 30% design plans, including starting and ending points and station locations.
Also finished are 30% design plans, including starting and ending points and station locations.(Lowcountry Rapid Transit)

“The 30% design gives us the information we need to really hone in on our cost and our schedule with the project, so that’s the process we’re going through right now,” Hollis said.

As that design work continues, Katie Zimmerman, the executive director of Charleston Moves, said there needs to be a focus on pedestrian and bike network improvements to truly make rapid transit work.

“The project will not succeed if people can’t safely walk or bike to the stations, you know, you have to be able to use the system safely,” she said. “So this is the prime opportunity to really drill down into the details and get a lot of these intersection improvements, the designs for them, done right.”

Overall, she’s supportive of the project, saying it will give people options other than driving, which takes more cars off the roads and reduces traffic while also expanding mobility for people like her who don’t own a car.

“When we have transportation choice, that does a wonderful job of giving people the opportunity to have access to jobs, access to housing that they can afford instead of having to drive until you qualify,” she said.

Currently, the system is set to open to the public in late 2026.

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