The latest symbol of the Charleston area’s growing economy — a new exit along Interstate 26 at the Volvo Cars manufacturing campus — is being touted as a catalyst for economic development that will also preserve the rural lifestyle of nearby residents.

The exit at mile marker 189 — which opens at 6 a.m. Friday — will provide direct access to roughly 1,300 acres of land for new industries offering thousands of jobs at Camp Hall Commerce Park, state-owned utility Santee Cooper’s fledgling industrial hub.

It will also redirect thousands of cars and trucks headed daily to the Volvo Cars plant away from the current two-lane access roads that wind through the tiny Pringletown community, a shift that the automaker says is important from a logistical and neighbor relations aspect.

“I travel this road every day, and every time I think about all this traffic and what a relief (this exit) will be” for nearby residents, said Helena Bergstrom-Pilo, Volvo’s vice president for purchasing and research.

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