The future of an interstate to South Carolina coast still uncertain after decades of planning.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, leaders in the Grand Strand where Interstate 73 would end say it would ease hurricane evacuations and bring in 2 million more tourists and their money each year.
They believe construction could start soon if permits are granted. But environmentalists question the need to disturb wetlands for an interstate that would run only 80 miles in South Carolina, particularly since it would follow essentially the same route as existing U.S. Highway 501.
A study completed this year by the South Carolina Department of Transportation found costs for the state’s part of I-73 could range from $2.8 billion if construction were to begin soon to $3.4 billion if it is delayed until 2025.
Environmental concerns have risen since the days that I-73 was first proposed to terminate in Charleston in 1991. Since then, opponents have argued expanding existing routes would have the same result as building a new interstate zt a fraction of the cost without raising environmental concerns.