Environmentalists oppose work on interstate

January 5, 2012 by  

The Southern Environmental Law Center, an environmentalist group on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is fighting a South Carolina Department of Transportation plan to build a road project that would tie the town into the state’s Interstate 51 system with upgrades along US routes 501 and 301. According to David Farren, a Law Center attorney, the Department of Transportation needs to acquire a wetlands permit from the federal government for Interstate 73 and to develop a plan for the entire project before it can proceed. The Law Center is using printing services to print flyers and posters making residents of the area aware of the road project and inform them of the potential hazards to the community should this project proceed without proper authority.

Despite Farren’s attempts to request that the highway administration and the Department of Transportation suspend their plans to move forward with the project, officials from both the various agencies have refused to meet with Farren and his environmental group and are proceeding with the planned work on US 501.

The work in question involves relocating a rural bridge and making improvements to the intersection at US 501 and US 301. The Department of Transportation feels it is justified to move ahead with the project as it has received a $10 million grant to do the work even if the Interstate is never built. The construction of the Interstate has been a source of great controversy due to its costs and environmental impact as it crosses important rivers and swamps. Farren has pointed out that there are various alternatives using existing roads and upgrading others for much less the cost.