Wednesday Don Lewis with Atkins, a consulting firm out of Florida, presented to state representatives and local chamber of commerce members how building I-73 and the Southern Evacuation Lifeline (SELL) could save 90,000 lives and crucial time in a hurricane evacuation.
SELL is a proposed 28-mile limited access highway that would bypass highways 707 and 501 in Horry County. SELL is planned to go from Highway 17 South of Surfside Beach to Highway 22 near Aynor. The proposed Interstate 73 would pick up where Highway 22 and 90 meet. 22 would then become the new i-73.
"I was actually very conservative in terms of my consumption of population numbers. I only assumed a 15 percent growth for tourism. But I wanted this to be a realistic analysis because I know there are people fore these projects and against," Lewis said after the presentation.
The study says with no new roads, the new study says in a category 4 or 5 storm it could take from 27 to 57 hours to get out depending on the route.
With both I-73 and SELL, Lewis says 90 thousand additional people could get out, and it would take between 17 and 20 hours to evacuate everyone. WIth no new roads, the new study says in a category 4 or 5 storm, that number jumps to 27 to 57 hours to get out depending on the route.
The study did not take into consideration any environmental effects I-73 would have. The Coastal Conservation League, a group against I-73 has said before it would be cheaper to upgrade highways 38 and 501 and wouldn't damage nearly as many acres of wetlands.
Hurricane season ends November 30th. We are just now getting into the peak of it.