Columbia -- Environmentalists fighting a $2.4 billion freeway to Myrtle Beach are asking the state to stop construction of a small road project that would eventually tie into the proposed interstate.
The Southern Environmental Law Center said state and federal highway agencies are trying to jump-start construction of Interstate 73 by moving forward illegally with upgrades along U.S. 501 and U.S. 301.
Under state and federal law, the S.C. Department of Transportation shouldn't proceed with the U.S. 501 work until the agency receives a federal wetlands permit for I-73 and has developed a financial plan for the entire project, the law center said in a recent letter to DOT and the Federal Highway Administration.
The federal agency said the law is being followed. DOT officials said the work is justified and will proceed.
At issue is the DOT's plan to use $10 million in I-73 grant money to relocate a rural bridge and improve the intersection at U.S. 501 and U.S. 301.