Re April 5 letter by John Basile, “I-73 efforts simply a waste of money”
Last October, I began traveling each week to Fort Mill to work a contract job. On my way there each Sunday, traffic would come to a slow crawl on U.S. 501 between Conway and Aynor often backing up 4 or 5 miles. Once I would get past Aynor, traffic would pick up until I approached Florence. At that point, I would have the option of taking I-95 or going through Florence to hit I-20 west. The worst part of the trip is from Florence to Myrtle Beach and vice versa. Coming home on Friday nights, traffic would always be congested on U.S. 501 as well.
If you look at a map of South Carolina, I-40 goes directly from I-95 to Wilmington, N.C., and I-26 goes directly from Columbia to Charleston. These two interstates go directly to the ocean north and south of Myrtle Beach. Every tourist that comes to Myrtle Beach on U.S. 501 contends with traffic every time they come here. How many people who love to come here decide to go to North Carolina or Florida because they decide that they just don’t want to sit in traffic on U.S. 501 or drive an hour after getting off I-95 to come here? How much gasoline is wasted every day with congestion on U.S. 501 that increases exponentially as the summer vacation approaches? How much aggravation does local residents and businessmen that use U.S. 501 have to handle to go about their daily lives during the summer?
The tourists would enjoy their week at the beach much more if they could use an expressway to get to their hotels downtown instead of looking at the beautiful landscaping along U.S. 501 as they are sitting still in traffic. The local businessmen and truckers would be able to reclaim U.S. 501 for their own use during the summer. I would even support a new toll road from Florence to the beach for easy access from I-95. It would be good for the local economy; save untold gallons of gasoline every year; the tourist would enjoy their vacations much more, and by getting the tourists to their hotels quicker, it would help alleviate local traffic congestion.
Finally, I notice that the gentleman who is against I-73 or a connector expressway lives in Longs far away from U.s. 501. I suspect that he doesn’t have to travel on it very often. So it is not a priority for him. Try living just off U.S. 501! The way our area overall is increasing in population, how quickly the Carolina Forest area is growing; and hopefully the numbers of summer guests to our area is growing; unless something is done soon, the central roads into Myrtle Beach will continue to become more congested and crowded. It is not a good scenario for our beautiful seaside area and poor planning for the inevitable growth.
The gentleman from Longs says the road would have succeeded 10 years ago when things were cheaper but how much more will it cost 10 years from now when it won’t be a choice anymore but a necessity?
Build it now!