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South Carolina's Bridge to Nowhere


monsoon

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It isn't any news here that Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach died. It was no doubt South Carolina's biggest development failure in a long time as the owners of that place somehow managed to finance a ~$500M (yes 1/2 billion) project that isn't even worth $35M just 8 months after it opened. They are going Chapter 7 now and I guess most of the investors, or more likely, the US taxpayers are out this money.

However what isn't as well known is that in the hoopla that surrounded this project, they managed to get the State of South Carolina to build a new bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway that separates Myrtle Beach from the rest of South Carolina. You can see where I am talking about here. The DOT is essentially rebuilding the entire interchange where you see Harrelson Blvd terminating at Hwy 17 Bypass. A new bridge is being constructed over the waterway that you see there that will connect this road to the park on this other side.

Even though the Park is now closed the DOT is well underway with this construction. If you zoom out a little you will see that aside from the closed Park, there is nothing else over there but a few very low density golf cart communities. This are is supposed to be wetlands where there is not supposed to be high impact development so essentially this is South Carolina's Bridge to nowhere. When you consider the Intracoastal Waterway is used for shipping so bridges crossing it have to be very high and hence expensive, it would seem to be a colossal waste of tax dollars. Even worse, if you look just north of there, there is another bridge.

Here is a recent photo of the bridge. It really doesn't do it justice when you consider that it is a 4 lane road that is being integrated into an exchange on a major highway.

34yofv6.jpg

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The SC "Bridge to Nowhere" is a proposed bridge over Lake Marion that is being pushed largely by Representative Clyburn that would connect Lone Star to Rimini. See this link. Its proposal is almost identical to the one in Alaska in that it would connect two insignificant towns who's combined economy might pay for one pillar of the bridge.

Now having said all of that, the project you mention is equally a waste of money if that park doesn't succeed. I hope that someday a theme park will locate there and be successful. Myrtle Beach is the perfect place for a real theme park.

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Is there evidence to suggest this bridge was built just for the park?? I'm not sure when plans for this park surfaced but this bridge (Fantasy Harbour Bridge) was in the playing stages before 2002.

While the bridge over Lake Marion would be a complete waste, this one isn't to nowhere. On one side (west) you have a growing area with retirement communities along the waterway and on the other you have an interchange, the airport, and a brand new mall. The only other nearby bridge is US 501 which is already extremely congested.

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The mall is on the Myrtle Beach side of the waterway so the bridge was not needed for it. As I said above, that area is sparsely populated and beyond the bridge connecting directly to the new Hard Rock highway, I don't see any other purpose for it given the Hwy 501 Bridge is right as well.

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I believe I read, the bridge and the required interchange rebuilding cost the DOT $42M.

On the issue of hurricane evacuations. It doesn't help with that either. All of the traffic gets dumped right back onto the same road the other bridge already feeds. The issue with getting out of Myrtle Beach are not the bridges but rather the lack of roads to this metro area.

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