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I-73 takes another big step forward in South Carolina

Yesterday, two major developments in I-73's eventual construction occurred in South Carolina.

First, SCDOT narrowed the studied alternatives to the highway. Basically it is down to two possibilities. One follows and uses most of US 501 from Marion to SC 22. The highway would use part of the US 301 Marion Bypass, jump on to a new alignment, return to US 301 north of Galivants Ferry around SC 41 and then the road leaves US 501 to bypass Galivants Ferry and Aynor. South of Anyor the road uses US 501 until SC 22 and then follows the Conway Bypass to its end.

The Second is a new path alignment that runs north of the US 501 Option. It runs closer to Mullins (bypassing the town to the south) and reaches SC 22 near the SC 319 interchange.

There are crossovers between the two main alternatives, so a hybrid of both options may be the final routing. What is also intersting is that both options cross I-95 north of SC 38, which is the current consensus for the north segment of the highway.

To see the corridors in detail go here:

The next big chunk of news is that the Toll consideration for the highway is pushing forward. The bills introduced have been fast tracked and will bypass going to committee. A vote could be early as NEXT WEEK.

Although the bills do not mention the amount of a toll or where the booths would be placed - that would be up to the DOT - there are some more details given. Tolls would be reduced for local residents perhaps by way of a pass system.

Thoughts:

First on the new alignmnet alternatives: As the picture gets clearer on where I-73 may go, some predictions can be made. The state knows that using the existing US 501 corridor with upgrades will be cheaper to build. So look for US 501 on all or parts of the route. The key is the influence of Mullins, which really wants the highway to be near it. Also, how close of an impact will Anyor want I-73 to have. I do think that the state will pick the northern alterntive to Mullins and use the crossover to US 501 near SC 41 and follow US 501 down to SC 22.

As for the tolls, nothing has been said about some concerns about wanting to create a SC turnpike Authority vs. just slapping tolls on the road through SCDOT. The political debate and the eventual vote will be the determining factor on that.

Comments

Thanks for keeping us all up-to-date on the I-73 saga.

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