Interstate project could be put on hold to fix state roads

Interstate project could be put on hold to fix state roads
SCHP warns drivers to be safe traveling this summer. (Source: WIS)

As legislators continue working to fix state roads, more of South Carolina's highways will need repair.

Otis Rawls and the State Chamber of Commerce have made transportation and infrastructure their top priority for 2015. Their reason is to ensure that business does not slow down and cost more money.

"Where the Ravenel Bridge comes in all the way up to where 385 and 26 split," Rawls explained, "I hate to think of a ship coming in full of rubber and that rubber not being able to get Bridgestone, Continental, or Michelin in time enough to be able to produce the type of tires."

The Coastal Conservation League's "Fix 26 First" campaign also stresses fixing the interstate that divides the state. However, fixing one road means putting Interstate 73, another that isn't even paved yet, on the back burner indefinitely.

"You're talking about 100-mile interstate," Rawls said. "If you're talking 20 million per mile, you're talking about two billion dollars. You want to talk real money. That's real money."

Rawls estimates it would cost $600 million just to make necessary repairs to existing roads. Where that money will come from will be up for discussion when Rawls and other business leaders meet at Thursday's transportation and infrastructure meeting.

"We've got to continue to educate legislators," Rawls said. "This is a big issue for them."

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