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Privately funded interchange well underway on Carolina Bays Parkway

A new interchange along the Carolina Bays Parkway (SC 31) that is being built with private funds may open by year's end. The interchange which is about one mile south of the Parkway's giant intersection with SC 22 (Conway Bypass) is being funded by a group of four property owners that call themselves the 'Parkway Group'.

Although the cost of the interchange project has not been released, the group has invested $3 million in private money to preserve 305 acres of Tiger Bay which sits within the Lewis Ocean Bays Heritage Preserve, an environmentally sensitive area that borders much of the Parkway.

Local property owners had been lobbying for an interchange with the Carolina Bays Parkway since 2001 seeing that their area is close to two (SC 22 and SC 31) new major highways but with no direct access.

The interchange is being built to state standards and once completed the interchange and access roads will be absorbed into the state highway system.

Currently, the interchange will lead to predominantly undeveloped land. The property owners that make up the Parkway Group have no current development plans for the land.

Story:
New SC 31 exit soon to be complete ---Myrtle Beach Sun News

Commentary:
I have no issue with private land owners investing in their local and sometimes regional infrastructure. In fact, this is possibly over a $5 million project (when you include the wetland mitigation of $3 million) that the state will not have to pay.

Some will argue that this project will only serve to increase sprawl in Myrtle Beach. And, yes this may likely lead to a large development project in the specific area. However and most importantly, it was decided by four primary landowners to invest in the infrastructure needed to bring the most value to their land. It is their right and decision to do that, and the growth and decisions to develop the land may actually be handled and run many times better than the state or local governments could ever do.

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