Commission chairman says I-73 will be built

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW)-Interstate 73 is still a project that is talked about and lately there’s been some progress. The entire interstate would run from Michigan to the Grand Strand. People on the commission board say it’s more than talk and that interstate 73 will be a road we can drive on in the foreseeable future.

“We pretty much got a green light on the project unless someone intervenes and sues to stop the progress of the project,” said Mike Wooten, commission chairman of S.C. department of transportation.

News13 asked him if he was referring to environmentalists stopping the project and he said no.

“I think it’s more obstructionists than environmentalists. This project has gone through 20 years of vetting, it’s had an environmental impact statement done, it’s had a finding of no significant impact of the federal highway administration. Everything that has been done on this project has been in accordance with published law.”

Right now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are accepting public comment. Based on that, the corps will decide if they’ll issue a permit for the project.

“Let’s just say we were able to get the permit in the next 90 days, we could literally be pushing dirt on the road in two years.”

Wooten says if someone brings a suit to stop the project, it may not get started for five years.

“That’s a pretty short period of time considering we’ve been working on this road for 25 years.”

Since it’s been that long in the making, many people don’t think the highway will ever come. Wooten assures everyone that the road will be a reality.

“Ye of little faith. It’s coming. It will be built. We have the means to pay for it, we have the preliminary plans completed, we have done 25 year’s worth of work towards this goal and we aren’t going to drop the ball on the two yard line, we are going to push it across.”

Once the permit is issued for the project, plans will have to be solidified with a tolling company and then the project can finally be started.

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