Environmental group opposing I-73 construction

Environmental group opposing I-73 construction
Lisa Jones-Truansky: Coastal Conservation League (Source: CCL)
Lisa Jones-Truansky: Coastal Conservation League (Source: CCL)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Many people were happy to hear Tuesday's news that a construction permit for Interstate 73 was granted.

The Coastal Conservation League, a local environmental group, is not celebrating.

"The road is simply not needed, and not only that, but we just can't financially afford it right now as a state," said Lisa Jones-Turansky, the chief conservation officer for the CCL.

CCL officials believe construction of I-73 will also harm the environment.

"It will take up to $4 billion to build, it will destroy 325 acres of wetlands and it will really displace local businesses, and it's being done for Myrtle Beach commercial interest," Jones-Turansky said.

But the CCL isn't just opposing I-73; they've offered a solution of their own.

They call it the Grand Strand Expressway. Its main focus will be improving roads and widening lanes along U.S. 501 and S.C. 38. The CCL believes this would be a better alternative to I-73.

They also believe their proposal would be more likely to bring jobs to the Pee Dee than I-73 would.

"That's really looking at improving the 38-501 corridor, where most of the jobs are situated in those rural areas and upgrades to that corridor would definitely bring more jobs," Jones-Turansky said.

When I-73 will be completed isn't entirely clear. The future depends on funding. Rep. Tom Rice said he's going to try to meet with people to discuss funding within the next month.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.