Public Hearing on Proposed Improvements to the Historic Ashley River Road

September 20, 2019

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has proposed structural improvements to a 6.5-mile stretch of Ashley River Road in Dorchester County that could destroy the scenic highway’s iconic tree canopy.

Please attend a public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 24, to speak out against the aggressive plans. Let the SCDOT know it’s possible both to improve safety on the heavily traveled road and to preserve this culturally and environmentally significant corridor, which has been designated a National and State Scenic Byway; is listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places and as part of the Ashley River Historic District; and was designated a National Treasure by the National Trust. You can learn more about the plans here.

What: SCDOT Public Hearing
When: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Ashley Ridge High School Cafeteria, 9800 Delemar Highway, Summerville

The plans include widening the 5.1-mile stretch from Cooke Crossroads to just north of Middleton Place, a National Historic Landmark. That portion of the road would have 12-foot travel lanes and 10-foot shoulders. All trees in the way of widening would be removed.

Plans for the second stretch—1.4 miles from north of Middleton Place to the Charleston County line—include more selective tree-cutting. One of the proposals would remove 283 trees, and another would remove 58 trees.

In recent years, the road has deteriorated with large cracks and potholes. At the same time, traffic congestion has increased as new developments were built around Summerville. The corridor has become increasingly dangerous for drivers, but safety could be improved by properly maintaining the road and enforcing speed limits.

We need to carefully consider how many and which trees we remove and take down as few as possible. Let’s protect the identity and sense of place that makes Ashley River Historic District so unique and special.

Be sure to attend the public meeting next week and demand that the SCDOT’s safety improvements are achieved without destroying the iconic canopy.

Join the movement to save and sustain historic African American places. The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund will help every American see themselves, their history, and their potential in our collective story and national cultural landscape.

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