Conservation Concerns Could Delay Highway 17 Widening - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/07/05

Conservation Concerns Could Delay Highway 17 Widening

Highway 17 in the Low Country, in particular the stretch from Gardens Corner to Jacksonboro, is a dangerous road. Nearly three dozen people have been killed there in the last eight years. And many want change to make it safer. The Department of Transportation wants to widen the road.

But now two conservation groups, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Environmental Law Center, want an environmental impact statement before the work starts. They're worried about the Ace Basin, an important wildlife area stretching across Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Charleston Counties.

But the impact study could cost millions and take years.

"What this will do? It could possibly delay [road improvement] and even stop it," said David Gasque, who lost a child on the highway. "And while we're delaying and stopping, people are continuing to get hurt."

The State Infrastructure Bank could decide on funding the widening later this month. We'll keep you posted.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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