A massive intermodal port expansion planned for Charleston, S.C., has some people worried about the extra trucks it would mean on area highways.
According to the Associated Press, a draft environmental impact statement says the $1.2 billion Global Gateway shipping terminal will mean 27,000 more vehicles a day within 20 years -- 80 percent of them trucks hauling containers. Port terminals now handle 13,000 trucks a day.
A study for an organization fighting the project, "South Carolina: More than a Port," estimates that the port will create a need for $800 million in highway improvements to handle the extra traffic. The group's study suggests massive highway improvements will be needed for Interstate 26, from Summerville to Interstate 95, as well as on the Mark Clark Expressway, also known as I-526.
This is in contrast to the draft environmental impact statement, which suggests only that I-526 would need to be widened in North Charleston to handle the port traffic. It said other highway improvements would be needed even if the terminal were not built.
About 125 of the 700 South Carolina companies using the port are in the Charleston area. Many of the others are upstate, which would mean more container trucks running through Columbia and Greenville.
Bernard Groseclose, president and chief executive officer of the States Ports Authority, thinks the $800 million figure put forth by More Than a Port sounds excessive.
"Given the growth in the area that is occurring anyway and the fact a lot of these roadways will have to be improved with or without port traffic," he told the Associated Press, "I cannot imagine it adding up to $800 million."