Thursday, October 5, 2017 News · Press Releases

Your iPhone Just Made a Multi-Billion Dollar Interstate Project Obsolete – And Other Reasons The “Grand Strand Expressway” is a Better Choice than Interstate 73

by Alan Hancock

Press Release from the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2017

Contact:

Alan Hancock, Coastal Conservation League, (843) 781-6144 – alanh@scccl.org

Your iPhone Just Made a Multi-Billion Dollar Interstate Project Obsolete

And Other Reasons The “Grand Strand Expressway” is a Better Choice than Interstate 73

 LATTA, SC – Car GPS systems and smart-phone apps use real-time traffic data to route drivers more quickly to destinations like Myrtle Beach, often selecting state roads over interstates. That means the boom in modern mapping technology is diminishing the need for new interstates.

That’s one of the conclusions in a pair of new reports released today that reveal how a decades-old proposal for a massively expensive South Carolina interstate – I-73 – is now outdated and obsolete, and that there are more sensible alternatives.

In his reports, Walter Kulash, a nationally recognized transportation engineer with 30 years of experience, reveals a blueprint for “The Grand Strand Expressway” – a cheaper, more comprehensive solution for mobility to Myrtle Beach that benefits local merchants and communities in a way that a new interstate would not.

The Grand Strand Expressway accomplishes the goal of increased mobility by improving US 501 and SC 38 (42 miles, from I-95 to SC 22 near Aynor).

The study also shows the feasibility of upgrading two additional corridors:

  • SC 9 (69 miles from I-95 near Dillon, SC to SC 22 near Conway).
  • The “74 Connector” (38 miles from US 74 in Whiteville, NC to SC 31).

These “Grand Strand Expressway” and local road improvements could be accomplished for much less than the projected price of I-73, which its backers say will need tolling and additional taxes to cover its costs.

Because the projects highlighted in Kulash’s reports improve existing, local infrastructure, they make financial sense and support community economic development –attributes that have catalyzed the local community to join forces to support these alternatives.

“Why would we waste billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on a road we don’t need?” said mayor of Dillon, Todd Davis. “We can get the same benefit from the Grand Strand Expressway, at a fraction of the cost of a new interstate.”

Johnnie Luehrs, Dillon County Chamber of Commerce executive director, said, “We don’t want to lose what we have. The proposed I-73 would completely bypass Dillon businesses.”

Attached are the two reports, both with executive summaries.

The first, “Review of the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Reevaluation of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Interstate 73 in South Carolina,” details flaws in several levels of the governmental review of the I-73 proposal.

The second, “Review of the Grand Strand Expressway Alternatives to the I-73 Extension,” reveals how the GSX is a more fiscally and environmentally sound proposal. The report also reveals other potential route enhancements that could complement the GSX and further improve regional mobility.

The reports are available at https://buildthegsx.org/latest-news/2017/10/4/your-iphone-just-made-a-multi-billion-dollar-interstate-project-obsolete.

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The Coastal Conservation League is a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the coastal resources of South Carolina. Our mission is to protect the natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, clean water and traditional communities by working with citizens, local governments and the state legislature.

 

 


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