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monsoon

South Carolina's Bridge to Nowhere

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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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^That's actually the bridge I thought this thread was about when I first saw the title.

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^Me too. Clyburn's bridge is DOA because SCDOT refuses to pay for another environmental study of a project they don't even want.

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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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^Beats me, but I know SCDOT is trying to do a better job of getting the roads built before they are needed. Look at NE Columbia to see why they're trying this.

I have a feeling the park located there because they knew the bridge was coming, not vice versa.

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I can at least understand in Myrtle Beach's case the desire to have multiple outlets to leave in case of a hurricane.

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Its possible that SCDOT required this bridge from the developer for access purposes. If that is true then they are building the bridge at little or no cost to the state.

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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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It looks like the three mile "bridge to nowhere" that may cross Lake Marion will not be funded through the Economic Stimulus funding. It sounds like Clyburn is intent on making this happen though, given the context of the article's quotes

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SCDOT has made it clear in the past that they won't pay for more environmental studies, especially since THEY don't even want this project. The Clyburn connector is pretty well dead and buried. That's not to say it won't raise its ugly head later, like a bad horror movie.

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