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:
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:
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.
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."