Recent I-73 study called misleading

A study released in June by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League on the economic impact of Interstate 73 is getting harsh criticism.

The league's study found it would be better to upgrade existing highways to Myrtle Beach than to build I-73.

It also stated that the cost of upgrading Highways 38 and 501 would be about $150 million dollars, while building I-73 would cost more than a billion dollars.

The group's study questioned if the highway would create thousands of jobs saying they would be low-paying service jobs.

The Grand Strand Business Alliance hired Parsons Brinckerhoff to do a comprehensive review of the two studies by the Coastal Conservation League as well as studies done by the North Eastern Strategic Alliance and the Schunk study.

You can click here to look at the comprehensive review.

The firm found Schunk's and NESA's studies to be credible, especially as it relates to jobs.

NESA says I-73 would create more than 22,000 jobs.

However, the firm challenged studies by the Coastal Conservation League.

"It shows the reports by the coastal conservation league are flawed and in some case glaringly are flawed," said Mike Wooten, Chairman Grand Strand Business Alliance.

The SC Coastal Conservation League's study found building an interstate wouldn't improve traffic between Conway and Myrtle Beach.

The League proposed a "Grand Strand Expressway", but the review found it does not meet the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials industry standards and is not comparable to an interstate.

"This so called Grand Strand Expressway doesn't even meet the national standards for an Expressway. Even the name of the project is misleading not to mention all the information," said Brad Dean, Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The review found the League's study to be misleading.

"In the final hour before we start laying asphalt, this group has come up with a report that not fact based as we see. that is error prone and misleading," said Rep. Alan Clemmons,(R) Horry County.

"The study the opponents have put out has baseless assumptions, misleading information. they've made glaring errors in their calculations. a third grade student would have better documentation on their quarterly paper than what they presented," Dean added.

Nancy Cave with the SC Coastal Conservation League commented on the review of their study.

"We stand by our study done by Columbia-based Miley and Associates. This review is another attempt by proponents of I-73 to avoid serious consideration of less costly alternative to a multi-billion dollar interstate. Today in South Carolina we have our roads falling to pieces," Cave said.

Officials with the Grand Strand Business Alliance say their report isn't meant to say it's better than the others, but to hopefully present the facts and to end all controversy relating to I-73.