Press Release | October 5, 2017

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

SELC, CCL Back a More Sensible Alternative to I-73

Latta, S.C. – 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 by the Southern Environmental Law Center and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League that reveal how a decades-old proposal for a massively expensive South Carolina interstate – I-73 – is now outdated and obsolete, and that there are more sensible alternatives.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).

Upgrading South Carolina’s 38/501 corridor makes better fiscal sense than building a new interstate, a new report concludes.

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.”


About the Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. With nine offices across the region (Charlottesville, VA; Chapel Hill, NC; Atlanta, GA; Charleston, SC; Washington, DC; Birmingham, AL; Nashville, TN; Asheville, NC; and Richmond, VA), SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect the South’s natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region.    

Are you a reporter and would like more information? Please visit our press contact page for a full list of SELC’s press contacts.

Press Contacts

Catherine Wannamaker

Senior Attorney with a focus on litigation

Phone: 404-521-9900