DILLON, SC (AP) Economic development was a top concern for those who turned out for a public hearing on possible routes to build Interstate 73 from North Carolina to the Grand Strand.
Planners are conducting an economic impact study in four counties — Marlboro, Dillon, Marion and Horry — as they consider routes for the expressway in South Carolina. Two possible corridors, with seven possible combinations to contain the I-73 route, were unveiled at the meeting.
Danny Riley, of Mullins Riley, is concerned noise and crowding could have a negative effect on his property.
“We want to attract customers to our art gallery we’re opening in April,” he said, “but we own 25 acres of land between Mullins and Marion and we’re concerned about the impact it could have.”
Regardless of the plans now, Irene Dais, of Marion, said she is encouraged about the planning. Dais said she also attended an I-73 meeting in Mullins in September.
Dais hoped the interstate will help Marion County lower its 18 percent unemployment rate, often highest in the state.
“I’m particularly interested in job creation and economic impact,” she said.
Transportation Department Spokeswoman Deborah Harsaid well every comment from the public would be typed up and put into the computer “so that we can look at every one of them.”
Owners of farmland in Aynor and the Galivants Ferry area asked Transportation Department officials to move the routes farther from their land, Harwell said. All of the proposed routes run through the Aynor area.
“Some of the routes may be altered,” she said.
The state is about a third of the way through the planning process, and it is unclear when funding will come or construction will begin.
State Rep. Jackie Hayes, D-Hamer, said his constituents in Dillon County already benefit from Interstate 95 and an extra expressway would bring more businesses.
“We will be able to attract more industry with two major intestates in the county,” he said.
Hayes said construction of I-73 would not be complete before 2009.
“You have to have services for those who build the roads,” he said. “They have to have places to sleep. You have to have places to feed them.”
Eventually, I-73 is to run from Michigan to Myrtle Beach.