Highway 61 Road Improvement Progress
preservation-admin , December 6, 2020
OVERVIEW – Highway 61 is a historic thoroughfare sheltered by a dense tree canopy that runs parallel to the Ashley River. In recognition of its significance, a portion of the roadway adjacent to Drayton Hall, Magnolia, and Middleton Place Plantation is designated a National Scenic Byway and listed on the National Register for Historic Places. For decades, the PSC has actively advocated for the protection of Highway 61, due to the constant threat of increasing development pressure.
STATUS – With the goal of improving safety on Highway 61, the SCDOT proposed a road-widening project in 2019 that would have resulted in the removal of hundreds of trees, forever destroying the character of this historic, scenic road. Thankfully, due to overwhelming community response, the impacts of the planned road improvements were significantly scaled back.
ADVOCACY APPROACH – The Preservation Society first coordinated with our partners in the Ashley River Historic District on an advocacy strategy. Through our various communication platforms, we garnered as much public awareness on the issue as possible and encouraged the community to voice their concerns during the SCDOT public comment period. In response, the SCDOT is now pursuing a more sensitive option that will undertake less invasive, but effective safety measures, such as reducing the speed limit, marking a major win and successful result of public process.