Skip to main content

I-73 Wetland Proposal Delayed to May 18

SCDOT's wetland mitigation proposal to the SC Department of Natural Resources has been delayed two weeks to May 18. The proposal was to be announced on May 3.

Both the DOT and the DNR said that they weren't close enough to an agreement, but they continue to work towards a resolution. Both agencies want to have as detailed and complete a proposal as possible.

At the same time, the Heritage Trust Board is preparing a report on the impact the I-73 project, specifically a bridge near SC 917 that crosses the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve. The highway and bridge would impact 27 acres.

After the DOT's proposal is presented, a special meeting of the Heritage Trust Board will be called to review and consider the DOT's proposal. In the past, the Heritage Trust Board and the DNR have expressed concern on the environmental impact of the Interstate, but they have expressed a strong interest in working with the DOT because of the necessity of the project to the region.

The Trust Board's decision is not binding.

Story:
I-73 compensation plan delayed ---Myrtle Beach Sun News

See Also:
SCDOT to present wetland replacement proposal on May 3rd
SC: I-73 wetland trade halted
SC: Heritage Trust Board won't fight I-73 but expects compensation

Commentary:

In a story that describes that the DOT and DNR are working to make sure they have all their bases covered, I noticed one thing. Comments by David Farren of the Southern Environmental Law Center. His comments about the damage to Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve and suggestions that I-73 be built along existing SC 9 or US 501 isn't anything different. But he continues to point out that Federal law prohibits the damage to the wetlands.

In the last story, Farren mentioned that the law prohibits highways from disturbing nature preserves unless there are no other viable options. Which he considers SC 9 or US 501 to be. In the most recent article, he states that this decision would be a precedent-setting one.

The DOT counters that the other alternatives -- SC 9 and US 501 specifically -- would do more environmental damage than the current route. And that they have the numbers to prove it. The DOT also claims that they continue to do field studies and that the results have confirmed their position.

So, what does this all mean. I believe that if the DNR and DOT come to an agreement on a wetland compensation package that the Southern Environmental Law Center will try to block the route. After the May 30, 2006 selection of the current preferred route, the SELC sent a letter to SCDOT voicing their concerns on July 28th.

In the letter, the SELC voice their concerns over the thoroughness of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) completed by the DOT. 1) The DOT did not weigh all the environmental impact concerns when choosing the preferred corridor. 2) Consideration of the fragmentation of habitat, specifically 45 miles of new highway on undeveloped coastal plain. In addition, the DOT did not consider upgrades to SC 38, US 501 and SC 9 as a possibility. 3) Ignoring Section 4(f) of the Federal Transportation Act of 1966. This specifically deals with their objections to the Little Pee Dee Bridge at SC 917 and the impacts to the Wildlife Preserve. 4) That the state ignored where the northern part of I-73 (from I-95 to the North Carolina Line) will be routed and how to tie the two highways together. They state that the DOT prematurely eliminated a corridor along SC 9 that the DOT's CAT tool showed as having the least environmental impact.

The letter which is 16 pages long can be found here.

In reading this letter, which I hope to dissect in a later blog entry, voices strong objections to the selected route and the thoroughness of the DEIS. That along with statements made in the press by the SELC is why I think that there will most likely be a legal challenge to I-73

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…

California State Route 173; former California State Route 2 and the last stand of the dirt State Highway

This past weekend I drove a portion of California State Route 173 east of CA 138 to the closure gate near Mojave River Forks Reservoir.   CA 173 is notable for being a former portion of CA 2 and having the last four miles of dirt State Highway still on the books in California.


CA 173 is a 25 mile State Highway which begins at CA 138 near Cajon Pass and ascends to CA 18 in the San Bernardino Mountains.  Presently CA 173 is the only State Highway that has a segment that has a dirt surface between Post Miles SBD 7.5 to SBD 11.5 near Mojave River Forks Reservoir.  Unfortunately said four mile segment of CA 173 has been closed to traffic since 2011.

Reportedly the route of CA 173 was originally built as an alternate haul road to Crest Drive through Waterman Canyon for the Lake Arrowhead Reservoir Project.  Lake Arrowhead Reservoir began construction in 1904 and wasn't completed until 1922.

Lake Arrowhead History

Part of what became CA 173 appears on this 1908 USGS Map east of Cajon Pass…

California State Route 14 on the Antelope Valley Freeway from CA 14/CR N2 to I-5 in Newhall Pass

This past weekend I drove a section of California State Route 14 on the Antelope Valley Freeway from CA 138/CR N2 near Palmdale to I-5 in Newhall Pass.


The present CA 14 is a 117 mile north/south State Highway which begins at US 395 and ends at I-5 near Newhall Pass.  Present day CA 14 is tied to numerous historically important Californian highways dating back to the times of wagon routes up to the era of the US Route System.

CAhighways.org on CA 14

A great deal of early history of what became modern day CA 14 was discussed in the "Legend of the Ridge Route" regarding the realignment of State Highways in Newhall Pass:

"Chapter 3; practicality leads to Ridge Route Alternate through Piru Gorge

US 99/LRN 4 from the south end of the Ridge Route at Castaic Junction through Newhall Pass originally had been routed on; (what is now) Magic Mountain Parkway, Railroad Avenue, Newhall Avenue, and San Fernando Road.  In 1931 a new routing of US 99/LRN 4 bypassing Newhall Pass, Sa…