Monday, April 30, 2007

Lady's Island Bridge to the Future

As an attorney practicing in Beaufort County I am familiar with the slow-downs associated with tourist season. From waiting for old mares hosting ambling carriage rides around the historic district to getting caught by a draw bridge connecting Beaufort to Lady's Island, Beaufort, much like Charleston, has become increasingly accustomed to delays. However, recently a barge has caused structural damage to the J.E. McTeer Bridge, which has become the major vein of traffic onto and off of Lady's Island. While repair estimates currently range from 3 to 5 months, most fear that it could take twice that long given the construction problems faced by other Beaufort County projects.

While the recent damage to the bridge has caused delays it has also resulted in the use of city and county resources including dozens of police personnel directing traffic and will undoubtedly have an impact on business on and around Lady's Island.

It is my hope that the recent bridge collision will result in a rethinking of the policy surrounding growth and development in Beaufort County, and Lady's Island in particular. While many have embraced that growth as a bridge to the future, others hold to an idea of a rural and unpopulated Beaufort. Unfortunately for them, however, those days are gone and the attempts to thwart development and infrastructure are felt most deeply in times such as this. As Hurricane season approaches (June 1) the people on Lady's Island and beyond are put in real peril, because, as Beaufort Police Chief Dowling said regarding the fallout from the bridge damage "we're stuck."The growing wave of growth is too strong to be stopped and the resistance to such growth now only works to make life in the glorious lowcountry less appealing. Now is the time to support expansion of bridges and road projects and other infrastructure that will help growth flourish and be an enhancement of the area rather than hold tight to a past that can not be reclaimed.

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