HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Local and state leaders were in the area today taking a tour throughout The Grand Strand to talk about projects set to be completed in the near future.
Congressman Tom Rice and Brigadier Gen. C. David Turner of the Army Corps of Engineers were joined by some local leaders to discuss the completion of projects like beach re-nourishment and I-73.
Rice and Gen. Turner visited North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Garden City Beach, and even took a helicopter ride over the proposed route for I-73.
Rice said there is not yet a set funding plan for the interstate, but he thinks Horry County will fit well within the category for an infrastructure package. The interstate, from Highway 22 in Aynor to Highway 74, right above the North Carolina line, will cost $2.4 billion.
The congressman said he and Sen. Lindsey Graham met with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao last week to talk about I-73's inclusion in an infrastructure package. He also said he thinks the interstate has nothing but good things to offer to South Carolina's economy, job creation, and opportunity.
"This is the land of opportunity. Infrastructure is the pathway to opportunity. This is the most important project we can do to lift people in this entire district,” said Rice, “I will work tirelessly to see its completion and I will make sure the administration is very much aware of its benefits."
Rice and Turner also talked about beach re-nourishment after Hurricane Matthew. A combination of funding that came from damage done by Hurricane Matthew and Congressional Appropriations is allowing for about $26 million of beach re-nourishment for The Grand Strand.
"The beach re-nourishment is coastal resiliency. So it’s really protecting those beaches and the value of the property associated with those beaches,” said Turner.
Turner says the beach project is expected to begin in about two weeks, and as for a completion date, he estimates the project could be done around December. “We’ll know the specifics when we get the work plan from the contractor,” he said.
Congressman Rice said he is very happy with the success of the project. The last time he can recall a beach re-nourishment in the area was ten years ago, but the beach today is still bigger than it was before.
Other local leaders joined the tour of The Grand Strand today including Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes and President of the Chamber Brad Dean.