The need for an interstate system connecting to the Grand Strand has been recognized for many years. Interstate 73 would link I-95 with one of the nation's fastest-growing tourist destinations. Approximately 13 million tourists visit the Grand Strand each year, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the state's tourism revenues. More than 80 percent of the tourists use the state's road system to reach their destination. Populations along the SC coast continue to grow at a fast rate.
I-73 would improve safety and enhance hurricane evacuation by providing a controlled access facility with a larger capacity to mobilize traffic during an emergency. There are currently three main hurricane evacuation routes serving the region: SC 9, US 501 and US 521. However, there are no controlled access facilities currently available for residents and visitors. Interstate 73 and its associated interchanges will be designed to allow reversing southbound lanes for greater evacuation efficiency.
Interstate 73 would support economic growth and regional competitiveness for the State of South Carolina.
I-73 would fulfill Congressional intent that the new route become part of our nation's interstate system as a controlled access facility. A controlled access facility means that the public will gain access to the interstate utilizing interchanges.
The Purpose and Need Statements, which have been refined for this project through coordination with the appropriate resource agencies, are included below.
The purpose of the proposed project is to provide an interstate link between I-95 and the Myrtle Beach region to serve residents, businesses, and tourists while fulfilling congressional intent in an environmentally responsible and community sensitive manner.
The following primary and secondary needs have been identified in connection with the proposed federal action, which are in accordance with FHWA guidelines. The degree to which the project will serve the primary needs identified below will receive greater emphasis than the secondary needs in the alternatives and impacts analysis.