By: Joshua Lloyd, Morning News
FLORENCE, S.C. – After more than 30 years of planning, studies and negotiations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit for construction of Interstate 73.
The interstate will connect Myrtle Beach to Sault Ste. Marie in northern Michigan, and will run 80 miles in four South Carolina counties — Dillon, Marlboro, Marion and Horry. In total, I-73 will cross six states — South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.
Congressman Tom Rice, a Republican from Myrtle Beach, has made I-73 one of his major talking points since his first election in 2014 and made an official announcement Tuesday afternoon.
“Since I got to Congress, construction of I-73 has been my top priority and this permit is a result of a lot of hard work and collaboration,” he said in a media advisory. “The opportunity that I-73 will bring to the 7th District is truly unparalleled, and now that we have the permit in hand we can begin construction and see this project come to light.”
A study completed by the South Carolina Department of Transportation last month indicated costs for the state’s portion of I-73 could be about $2.8 billion if construction starts this year or up to about $3.4 billion if construction is delayed until 2025.