Construction permit approved for I-73 in South Carolina - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Construction permit approved for I-73 in South Carolina

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

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The project decades in the making is one step closer to becoming a reality. U.S. Representative Tom Rice confirmed Tuesday that the construction permit for Interstate 73 in South Carolina has been approved.

“Since I got to Congress construction of I-73 has been my top priority and this permit is a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration,” said Congressman Rice. “The opportunity that I-73 will bring to the 7th District is truly unparalleled and now that we have the permit in hand we can begin construction and see this project come to light. We still have a ways to go but we’re closer than ever and I won’t stop until this project is complete and people are driving on this road.”

Rep. Rice posted on Facebook the content of an email that he received Tuesday that confirms the Army Corps on Engineers approved the permit to begin construction on the long-awaited project to connect the Grand Strand to the state's interstate system:

"I thought you might be interested to know that moments ago I approved the 1-73 permit. As it is not yet 21 June, the first day of Summer has yet to happen, so it is with great pride that the team can say we got this done well before our original commitment of early fall. This was the result of a tremendous and focused effort by the SCDOT and the Charleston Regulatory Team. We thank you both for your leadership and steady focus on this important project. Have a great Day!"

Studies indicate that I-73 will generate about 22,000 permanent and 7,700 temporary jobs in South Carolina, according to a news release from Rep. Rice's office.

Following the announcement, Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:  

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is thrilled that the federal government has finally issued a permit for the construction of Interstate 73.

Many people have championed this effort for more than two decades. We are thankful for unwavering support from Congressman Rice, our Congressional delegation, our State Legislative delegation and the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Now that the federal government has issued the permit, we can begin to gather the funds to complete this important project. I-73 will bring more jobs, higher wages, economic growth and an alternate hurricane evacuation route.

One year ago, the SCDOT submitted the final permit application for approval for the project to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The project now known as Interstate 73 began over 30 years ago with the US Congress passing a bill that allowed for the study of a route that would connect I-95 South to US-17 near Myrtle Beach.

View a full timeline of the project and more details from SCDOT about I-73 here.

Rep. Rice took time Tuesday to thank the individuals and agencies that made the project’s progress possible:

“What a great way to start the day! I want to thank BG Turner, LTC Luzzatto and the Army Corps of Engineers, Secretary Christy Hall, Mike Wooten and everyone at the South Carolina Department of Transportation as well as Senator Graham, Brad Dean and all those who have worked so hard to get us here.”

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