LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WBTW) — A massive road project in the works is expected to make the drive between major beaches on the Carolina coast much easier.
But farmers that could be in its path want the community to voice concern about the Carolina Bays Parkway extension project, which would provide an improved link between Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, North Carolina.
“Many of those routes would put asphalt, on and off ramps, various things like that on top of the farm,” said Sallie Lun, who works at Indigo Farms. “Local food and places that produce it are few and far between and are worth preserving.”
Indigo Farms is based in Calabash, North Carolina, and is a staple for families visiting yearly at Ocean Isle, Sunset Beach, and other Brunswick County islands.
The North and South Carolina departments of transportation are working together on plans to extend S.C. 31 from its current terminus at S.C. 9 to Highway 17 in Brunswick County.
There are seven routes that are up for consideration, and Indigo Farms urges people to advocate for one that protects the farm.
“This farm has been in our family for six generations,” Sam Bellamy said.
Monday is the deadline to submit a comment on a federal notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement for the project.
The total project is estimated to cost $552 million, a number that includes work on both sides of the state line. There isn’t a set construction date yet.
“The project is to alleviate some of that congestion and provide alternate routes for drivers,” said Katie Hite, the project development engineer for NCDOT Division 3.
NCDOT said as the project moves ahead, there will be more opportunities for the public to voice its opinion, likely next summer.
“The draft environmental impact statement will be ready in spring,” Hite said. “And then we’ll have our hearings and we plan to have an alternative selected sometime probably next fall.”