International Drive fight heads to court in Columbia Tuesday

International Drive fight heads to court in Columbia Tuesday

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The court hearing over the widening and paving project of International Drive will start Tuesday in Columbia. It is over an appeal issued by the Coastal Conservation League, which has delayed the project again.

The battle over repaving the nearly six miles of road has dragged on for years. DNR and Horry County came to an agreement around 2013 that three bear crossings in the original proposal were not necessary for the project. County leaders were then waiting on the 401 Water Quality Certification and Coastal Zone Consistency Certification to move forward. DHEC granted those certifications. And then The Coastal Conservation League appealed the decision.

A director of the league said people must protect the environment and wildlife at all costs. "If we continue to develop and build roads and make it into an island so that basically the animals and the vegetation there cannot cross-pollinate, then that area will be destroyed," said Nancy Cave, with the Coastal Conservation League. "That area will die!"

People who live off International Drive disagree and said that the delay is threatening their safety. Many protested the league's appeal and signed a petition. Those homeowners said many times it take emergency crews 30 or 40 minutes to get to them. And they believe it would take only around 10 minutes if International Drive was paved.

The court hearing could take three days.

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