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Segment of SC's I-73 goes unchallenged

Somewhat surprisingly, the Record of Decision on the southern South Carolina segment -- I-95 to Myrtle Beach -- of Interstate 73 went unchallenged this past week.

The 60 day review and comment period to challenge and object to the federal ok for the highway, which is required by Federal Law, went by quietly since the February decision.

One of the likely groups to have challenged/objected to the record of decision - the Coastal Conservation League - decided against any objections at this time; deciding rather to wait and watch the process.

"We think it is just too early and it isn't appropriate at this time," said Nancy Cave, director of the north coast office of the league.

Story: The Myrtle Beach Sun News

Commentary:

Well the article is correct the highway cleared a major hurdle when no challenges to the February Record of Decision was made. In addition to the Coastal Conservation League, I am surprised that the Southeastern Environmental Law Center also did not file an objection as they have been actively watching and commenting on the entire I-73 process.

Of course, as future construction permits are requested for the 60 mile segment. Both the CCL and the SELC will be curious and concerned about how the SCDOT goes about its business. But, it's a good start.

The state is slowly beginning the right-of-way purchase phase for the highway. But with no dedicated funding source - federal funds, tolls, or a public-private partnership - it is uncertain when the highway will still be built.

And one last thing, it is quite possible that after a decision on funding...that there could still be more delays and possible extra environmental clearances needed. Quoting from the article:

The Charleston-based Coastal Conservation League will examine the DOT's construction permit applications, and it is concerned about how the agency will compensate for destruction of wetland when the road is built.

The road so far has no definite funding stream, though it could impose a toll, and the DOT is looking for a public-private partnership to pay for part or all of the project.

Cave said if tolls are imposed or a partnership is adopted, the league may insist that a new Environmental Impact Statement be prepared because the existing document does not address toll booths and other facilities that would be needed.

Hmmm, there's still a lot of i's to dot and t's to cross before anyone will be driving on I-73 in South Carolina.

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