Police plan I-526 blitz on speeding
By Prentiss Findlay (Contact)
The Post and Courier
Thursday, March 20, 2008

MOUNT PLEASANT Here's a driving tip: If you're in a hurry late Friday afternoon on Interstate 526, slow down, because police plan a rush-hour traffic enforcement blitz there near Long Point Road.

The speed limit is 65 mph. "We've had cars pushing into the 130s," Sgt. Pat Carter said.

The highest speed in town, 141 miles per hour, was clocked last year on the interstate.

Police issued 89 traffic citations in February on I-526. Most of them were for speeding and aggressive driving, Carter said. Five collisions happened last month that involved injuries, he said. Tempers can flare when drivers have a need for speed, which has resulted in road rage incidents, said Sgt. Steve Meadows.

At least seven police vehicles will be enforcing traffic laws Friday afternoon on I-526, officials said.

Town officials have been concerned about speeding and traffic safety in the area for nearly a year. They asked the state Department of Transportation to study whether lowering the speed limit was warranted. Last spring, the DOT recommended against reducing the speed limit because it found that most drivers were not traveling too fast. The department monitored 100 drivers at three locations on I-526 and found that 85 percent of them were within 65 mph. An average of 50,000 vehicles travel I-526 daily.

According to the DOT study, 100 vehicles traveling the 2.5 miles from the Wando River Bridge to Long Point Road had an average radar speed of 60.7 mph and speeds ranging from 48 mph to 70 mph. And 100 cars clocked on the 1.25 miles from Long Point Road to the U.S. 17 Georgetown exit were measured traveling 47 mph to 72 mph, with an average radar speed of 58.7 mph.

Officers working speed patrol Wednesday on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge said most people were obeying the 55 mph speed limit. The highest speed ticketed Wednesday was 77 mph.