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22 May 2018
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Island Insider Tips

We’re coming up on Memorial Day weekend, the start of the prime season to be in a Charleston beach house. It’s also the kickoff weekend of Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto, so expect the roads to be busier than usual. If you’re flying in or out of Charleston International Airport en route to one of our SC vacation rentals, be sure to leave plenty of time.  And also pack a little patience.  2017 saw record numbers of people flying in and out of CHS.  During all of April, TSA broke records in the number of screenings for departures.  During the week of May 13th alone, over 52,000 left on a flight out of Charleston. Paul Campbell, Charleston County Aviation Authority CEO, had this to say:  “People always ask why they need to get here two to three hours early.  We now have eight airlines flying nonstop to 28 airports. This is why we are no longer a sleepy small-town airport.” Read more about it here.  

The Wando Bridge Project and getting to your Charleston beach house

There’s one thing you need to know about if you are heading to a Charleston beach house in the next month or so.  Last week, bridge inspectors discovered a cable had broken underneath the Wando Bridge on I-526 West.  As a result, they shut down that direction of the bridge completely.  It caused traffic nightmares last week as they detoured traffic.  What used to head west on I-526 was rerouted on Highway 17 and Johnnie Dodds Blvd. toward downtown, or Hwy 17 North to Highway 41 and Clements Ferry. Luckily this past Sunday, they came up with a workaround.  The eastbound Wando Bridge has been converted to two directions, one lane each.  So at least there is traffic going both ways.  Expect delays, though, as traffic remains congested in the area as it slows to 45 MPH and merges to one lane. If you are heading to one of our luxury beach house rentals SC from the airport, you might want to come down I-26 and through Charleston rather than taking I-526. Here’s advice on how to plan your drive and navigate around the bridge issue, from Live 5 News.  

Cameras near your Charleston beach house

There are other nifty tools available to help you navigate area roads. If you’re headed to a Charleston beach house, keep an eye peeled for cameras.  There are a slew of them along Johnnie Dodds Boulevard.  Thankfully they are NOT for giving tickets but instead to improve the traffic flow and the timing of stoplights. There are a couple other high tech cameras that will enhance your stay in our beach rentals Charleston, namely our Isle of Palms luxury rentals. The good folks at the South Carolina Department of Transportation have installed traffic cameras at key points around the Charleston area that stream live video, showing current traffic conditions.  They are on the main highways and intersections and en route to the beaches, as well. For a long time, the only beach camera they had was at the island’s one traffic light/intersection on the IOP showing the traffic coming on and off the Isle of Palms Connector.  This has been a tremendous help in planning your trips on or off the island, to or from your luxury house on Isle of Palms. It’s especially helpful during peak season weekends for beach house rentals Charleston SC.  This is when the beach traffic becomes an issue on and off the Connector. SCDOT has since added several more beach cams, going on and off Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and where Rifle Range crosses the IOP Connector.  They’re a tremendous help when you’re navigating to one of the other islands from your beach house Charleston.

To help plan your drive to/from your Charleston beach house…

Here’s how you check the IOP Connector traffic cam: Option 1:

  • Download the app -  It’s called SCDOT 511.
  • Go to Cameras;
  • Select Charleston Beaches;
  • Then select 100: Hwy517/703 (Isle of Palms Connector).

Option 2:

  • Go to the website,
  • On the blue banner near the top, click on Cameras.
  • Click on Charleston Beaches. Look for the IOP Connector cam.
  • Click on the play icon to stream live video of the traffic going on and off the Connector.

This 511 app/website is a terrific resource for checking roads all over the state, where you can check out live streaming video on a number of roads, intersections and bridges.  Here’s a breakdown of where they have cameras, and how many are in each place:

  • Charleston -  67 (including several on the Ravenel and Don Holt Bridges as well as the newly added Wando Bridge project)
  • Charleston Beaches -  9
  • Columbia -  168
  • Florence -  10
  • Gaffney -  25
  • Greenville -  80
  • Myrtle Beach -  36
  • Rock Hill -  32
  • Wando Bridge Project - 11

They are adding cameras all the time, so stay tuned for even more options.  They just added the ones in and around the Wando Bridge (and Highway 41 and Clements Ferry Road, the detour routes).  The relatively new ones near the Ben Sawyer Bridge are particularly helpful to see whether or not the drawbridge is open.  That helps with planning your drive to or from our Isle of Palms vacation rentals should you wish to avoid the Connector. So keep your cool in traffic and check out those helpful cams.  And remember to call EP when you are looking for the best in rental homes South Carolina.  We can connect you and your friends & family with the perfect Charleston beach house. All best, Lowcountry Lisa your Isle of Palms vacation blogger