The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday they are now accepting public comments to assist in determining whether to issue a permit for Interstate 73.
The 30-day public comment period is a key part of the process for the Corps, along with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, to receive input from the public on whether the project should move forward.
According to South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission Chairman Mike Wooten, the period could be extended to 60 days.
The new interstate will run between Highway 22 northwest of Conway and I-95.
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After the public comment period and the federal agency has reviewed all of the input, a decision will be made whether to issue the permit.
If denied, Wooten says the permit could be appealed, but he believes the Corps wouldn’t have put the project out for public comment if they weren’t confident in their position.
“We expect there to be some negative comments, and there’s always the potential that the permit will be appealed, but we’re at a point now where the project is pretty much unstoppable,” said Wooten.
The new interstate will be paid for entirely with local funds, said Wooten. Most of the funds will come from tolls on the new road.
Wooten is optimistic that the public comment will reinforce the need for the interstate, and result in the eventual construction of the road.
“It’s gonna get built,” said Wooten. “It’s just a question of when.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian