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      Florence County road widening projects still in permitting process

      Florence County officials are still trying to secure permits for the widening of five roads, according to Florence County Administrator Rusty Smith.

      He says the permits involve mitigation plans for wetlands. Smith says some of the roads have bridges, ditches, and streams along side them and the county has to make sure they're not disturbing any wetlands.

      The roads scheduled to be widened include Pamplico Highway, 301 Bypass, TV Road near North Irby Street, Highway 76 and Highway 378.

      In 2011, Pine Needles Road bridge was expanded as a part of the project.

      Smith says the permitting process is very involved and takes a lot of time, but he says they're 98 percent done with it and expects construction on the roads to possibly start as early as March.

      In 2006, voters approved a one cent sales tax increase for the road widening project that expires in 2014.

      The total cost for the project is $480 million. The state is paying $340 million with Florence County chipping in $140 million.