Aug. 8: Deadline for public comment on I-73 project - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Aug. 8: Deadline for public comment on I-73 project

(Source: WMBF News) (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Only days are left until a public comment period for the construction of Interstate 73 is closed.

Local leaders are pushing for residents to have their voices heard before it is too late. Many see the proposed infrastructure as a pathway to progress for South Carolina.

The permit application for the project was sent to the Army Corps of Engineers back in May. At this point, it is the closest I-73 has ever been to construction since the idea was proposed decades ago.

“I-73 will bring the jobs and opportunity needed to make our district competitive. I’ve been very clear as to why I support this project, but it’s time the Army Corps hears from others in South Carolina,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Rice said. “Everyone has the right to express their opinions on I-73 construction and time is of the essence with the comment deadline quickly approaching. I encourage all residents to make their voices heard.”

However, one environmental group believes the proposed infrastructure would be a waste of money and natural resources, claiming the push to get it built is politically driven.

"I-73 is not necessary," said Nancy Cave with the Coastal Conservation League. "Why are politicians pushing for something that is going to cost this state, cost tax payers, and the federal government millions...of dollars when we can upgrade a road, a road and corridor we already have."

Cave believes the money and effort should be put into expanding Highway 501, a roadway that already exists.

Meanwhile, Rice believes there is too much to gain by building a new roadway.

"Marion county is the poorest county in our state. Marlboro is three and Dillon is seven," Rice said. "That road crosses right through every one of them. That road will give them new possibilities for economic diversification. It will add to the wealth of every body in those counties....and certainly with Horry County...it will add to the tourism base and also give us additional possibilities for industrial diversification."

Local leaders are pushing the positives for safety, jobs, tourism, and also convenience.

Brad Dean with the Myrtle Beach AREA Chamber Of Commerce said in a statement: 

"For Grand Strand residents, I-73 will reduce congestion on Highway 501 by shifting visitor traffic to the Interstate. This comment period is the final chance we have to tell the Federal Government to finish what it started and make I-73 a reality."

Myrtle Beach city council members also showed their support for the project Tuesday by passing a resolution to reaffirm their desire that the construction permit be promptly issued for I-73.

The Coastal Conservation League is the same environmental group that has been working against the construction of International Drive.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, the comment period is open until Aug. 8. Letters may be sent to the below address:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Charleston District, Columbia Field Office
1835 Assembly Street, Suite 865 B-1
Columbia, SC 29201
Attn: Stephen A. Brumagin, Project Manager
RE: P/N SAC-2008-01333 REVISED

Read the city of Myrtle Beach's resolution supporting Interstate 73 below:

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