Federal, state agencies deny allegations in I-73 lawsuit

Federal, state agencies deny allegations in I-73 lawsuit

CHARLESTON, SC (WMBF) – Federal and state agencies named as defendants in a lawsuit over the Interstate 73 project have responded to the allegations levied against them.

The responses were filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Charleston. In two separate legal filings, the federal agencies, which include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the South Carolina Department of Transportation deny the majority of the allegations made by the Coastal Conservation League.

According to court records, the defendants were responding to an amended complaint from the CCL.

“Federal Defendants deny any allegations in the Amended Complaint not specifically admitted or denied in all of the preceding paragraphs,” the federal response stated.

Christy Hall, the secretary of the SCDOT, issued a near-verbatim denial in the state agency’s separate response.

Last month, Judge Bruce Hendricks rejected a motion to dismiss the lawsuit as whole, but did dismiss some of the individual claims.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017, continues to delay the I-73 project. The CCL’s ultimate goal is to find a “more fiscally responsible alternative” to the long-in-development interstate.

The CCL is asking that officials look into the Grand Strand Expressway, which is a proposal to connect Myrtle Beach to Interstate 95 with upgrades to the S.C. 38 and U.S. 501 corridor, rather than expanding I-73. The group said it will cost upwards of $4 billion to build, destroy 325 acres of wetlands and displace local businesses.

If the project moves forward, I-73 would run from Michigan to Myrtle Beach, with around 75 miles in South Carolina once completed.

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