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

Old Stage Road; the "real" El Camino Real and predecessor route to US Route 101 on the San Juan Grade

This past month I stopped in San Juan Bautista to hike the Juan Bautista De Anza Trail on the closed Old Stage Road.  Old Stage Road as part of the Spanish El Camino Real to cross the Gabilan Range between San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley.



Part 1; the history of El Camino Real and Old Stage Road

The Gabilan Range between what is now San Juan Bautista and Salinas Valley was first explored during the second Juan Bautista De Anza Expedition of Las Californias.  While the De Anza expedition likely crossed very close to the present alignment of Old Stage Route their exact path isn't clear.  Juan Bautista De Anza noted the following in his journal while passing near present day San Juan Bautista on March 24, 1776:

"In the valley we saw many antelopes and white grey geese.  In the same valley we found an arroyo...and then came to a village in which I counted about twenty tule huts.  But the only two people we saw were two Indians who came out to the road and presented us with thr…

Railroad Square Historic District, US Route 101, California State Route 12; Santa Rosa, California

This past November I visited the Railroad Square Historic District in Santa Rosa of Sonoma County, California.  Railroad Square is a historic corridor in downtown Santa Rosa which was created due to it being isolated due to the realignment of US Route 101.



Part 1; the history of Railroad Square and the highways of Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa is the County Seat and largest City in Sonoma County.  Santa Rosa was settled in 1833 in Alta California and was named after Saint Rose of Lima.  When California became an American State, Sonoma County was one of the original counties.  The original County Seat of Sonoma County was in Sonoma but it was soon moved to Santa Rosa by 1854.  In 1867 Santa Rosa became an incorporated City as it was one of the few major communities north of San Francisco Bay.

Railroad service arrived to Santa Rosa in 1870 by way of the San Francisco & Northern Pacific Railroad ("SF&NP").  The SF&NP began construction from Petaluma northward in 1869.  By 1…

Caledonia Bridge - Caledonia, Ontario

The Caledonia Bridge, also known as the Argyle Street Bridge, is the longest rainbow arch bridge in the Province of Ontario. Spanning 700 feet across, the Caledonia Bridge includes an impressive nine arches. Opened to traffic on November 19, 1927, the bridge crosses the scenic Grand River in the Haldimand County town of Caledonia.  Caledonia Bridge was the first, and is now the only nine span bridge in Canada. The arches along the bridge tower over most passing vehicles. King's Highway 6 also once crossed this bridge, before the Caledonia Bypass was opened in 1982.

The site where the current Caledonia Bridge is located has a long history of being the location of a noteworthy bridge. In fact, the existing bridge replaced a large, six arch Whipple Arch truss bridge that was built in 1875 along the old Plank Road between Port Dover and Hamilton. Each of those spans were 105 feet (32 meters) in length. A large brick toll keepers residence was also built near the north end of this bri…