Horry County leaders move forward with improvements to local roads, puts pause on I-73 funding

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:36 PM EDT
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CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Finding a way to pay for Interstate 73, while not ignoring funding needed for roads in Horry County was a big topic of discussion for leaders during a committee meeting Tuesday.

Horry County Council’s Administration Committee had two resolutions on its agenda related to funding I-73 and local roads, such as Highway 90.

One of the resolutions would set aside $4.2 million each year, for up to 30 years, to pay for Horry County’s portion of I-73. But committee members voted to move the discussion on this item to an upcoming meeting on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, the committee voted to send a resolution using leftover Ride II money to pay for improvements for Highways 90 and 501 to the full Horry County Council

“That money is already there from Ride II. Let’s hit the hot spots of Highway 90 first, the worst problems that we have on Highway 90 and go from there,” Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught said.

But Vaught explained that committee members are not against appropriating money towards the proposed interstate, that would connect the Grand Strand to I-95.

Vaught said the committee just found out staff from the county and staff from Myrtle Beach are meeting to discuss I-73. He said this led them to hold off any discussions on the proposed interstate until late October during the committee’s next meeting.

“When we settled the hospitality suit, we agreed to work together on these type of projects. If we went ahead with the resolution as it was written, we’d sort of be jumping the gun,” he added.

And while Vaught said he does want to see I-73 one day, Coastal Conservation League North Coast Project Manager Tapper Fowler spoke during public comment advocating against the interstate.

He said between concern over wetlands, wildlife habitats and issues with flooding and overcrowding on roads here in Horry County, the interstate can wait.

“We have plenty to address here locally, and that’s where the money should go,” Fowler said.

Funding for the county’s portion of the interstate won’t get discussed again by the administration committee until October 26.

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