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      Grassroots I-73 group heads to Columbia

      Their tour bus says it all, "I-73, the time is now." The group, I-73 for SC, traveled from Myrtle Beach to the statehouse Thursday with one message.

      The group is made up of about 40 people, including Myrtle Beach City councilmen Michael Chestnut and Randal Wallace.

      "It was important to get a grassroots group of people, just everyday people working in restaurants, working in hotels, just come out and say, 'Hey guys, we see the importance of I-73,'" said Michael Chestnut.

      "I hope it's going to send a clear message to everybody up here," said Randal Wallace.

      The group first met with a representative from Governor Nikki Haley's office.

      Our cameras weren't allowed inside, but this is the message they wanted to get across.

      "It's a project of just monumental importance. When you look at the unemployment rate that is in Horry County it's like 10.5% and in Dillon and Marion Counties it's over 19%. The impact of just building that interstate will have in the long-term for us is just incalculable," said Wallace.

      Chestnut said, "You're talking 29,000 jobs. You're talking this project from Dillon to Horry County . You're talking 1.5 billion dollars. That's serious money, and we've got some serious people who are out here wanting I-73 to come about."

      Following the meeting at the Governor's Office, they headed to the State Department of Transportation where they asked commissioners to keep I-73 on the radar for all of South Carolina.

      "I believe in the theory that rides and tides floats all boats, and if tourism can grow in Horry County, the rest of the state of South Carolina will do well and also the Pee Dee region will do well."

      The group believes the highway will attract major industries to the area.