Judge dismisses environmental group’s lawsuit against the I-73 project

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – A U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the federal government and its decision to approve plans to build U.S. Interstate 73.

In the 43-page opinion, Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks on Thursday denied claims by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and dismissed their lawsuit. A copy of the ruling can be found HERE.

The proposed Interstate 73 would connect the Grand Strand to I-95 and beyond. Studies have estimated I-73 will help create 23,000 new jobs in the state and provide a critical hurricane evacuation route for the coast, according to S.C. Rep. Case Brittain, who serves as the chair of the National I-73/74/75 Corridor Association.

Karen Riordan, president, and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber will remain committed to the project that so many see as a lifeline for the Grand Strand.

“Today’s order is a colossal win for Myrtle Beach, Horry County and the entire state of South Carolina,” Riordan said. “I-73 is a public safety and economic development necessity for South Carolina. The project is well-vetted and that’s why the Federal Government issued a permit authorizing construction in June 2017.”

Gov. Henry McMaster said, “Completing I-73 is a critical component of our state’s future prosperity and I’m glad to see that we’re one step closer to seeing this project come to fruition.”

U.S. Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC) said, “Today, we’ve overcome a large hurdle to the construction of I-73 that has put the project on unnecessary hold for years. The Grand Strand is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the country. It’s time our infrastructure meets that demand. I will continue to do all I can at the federal level to make sure this project comes to fruition.”

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