S.C. State Representative William Bailey informed Governor Henry McMaster that he is in discussions with members of the General Assembly about a plan to widen Highway 9 to I-95.
In our calls to local leaders from Dillon to North Myrtle Beach, the initiative does have strong support.
The number one tourism provider for the Grand Strand is the state of North Carolina. Other key provider states include NY, NJ, PA, and OH.
The quickest exit for all northern visitors would be the Highway 9 exit at Dillon, S.C.
Highway 31 picks up at North Myrtle Beach allowing those visitors to travel as far south as Surfside Beach.
CHEAPER TO COMPLETE
The Grand Strand Business Alliance is a lobbying group largely comprised of businessmen located in the City of Myrtle Beach. This group advocates for the construction of I-73. S.C Highway Commissioner Tony Cox sits on the board of the Grand Strand Business Alliance along with some of the most powerful Democrats on the S.C. Coast.
Over 533 acres in rural Horry County are currently flooded, however. A large swath of that flooded area is directly in the route I-73 is projected to run. These areas are called wetlands for good reason.
A projected $2.4 billion cost to build I-73 was made public over 5 years ago. Ongoing flooding and issues around building the road to interstate standards have several engineering groups stating the figure will likely come in at over $5 billion if the road is built to the proper standards.
Highway 9 will need buttressing in the Longs area of Horry County to ensure flooding does not occur. The road will also need attention in the Nichols area. Nichols is a town located in Marion county. That area is prone to flood as well.
Those costs are a fraction of what it will cost to clear the swamplands in Horry County along the proposed I-73 route.
ALMOST TWO THIRDS PAVED
Another key money saver on building Highway 9 is the reality that the road is already four laned west to just before the town of Nichols, S.C.
As the road will not need to be built to interstate standards, costs will come in at a fraction of projections for I-73. MyrtleBeachSC News is currently talking with sources to determine the actual cost of completing the road to I-95. We will produce those numbers when we receive them.