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State OKs money
to complete I-526

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The state’s highway bonding agency has committed an additional $138 million toward completing Interstate 526 to give faster access to and from Charleston’s western suburbs.

The board for the state’s infrastructure bank voted unanimously in a teleconference Friday to guarantee the money. About $420 million was available for completing the Mark Clark Expressway across Johns and James islands, but the latest estimate for the project is $558 million.

Rep. Chip Limehouse, a board member, said the Department of Trans­por­tation must agree to take over the project from Charleston County and make it a priority. DOT officials have said they wouldn’t do so unless the money was available and the project had widespread community support.

The I-526 loop currently begins and ends on U.S. Highway 17, linking Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and the West Ashley area of Charleston. Opponents say extending it through James and Johns islands will promote sprawl and destroy sensitive wetlands. Sup­porters argue it will relieve congestion and improve hurricane evacuation.

Yorktown bill could surpass $81 million

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — Restoring the World War II aircraft carrier Yorktown is estimated to cost more than $81 million.

An environmental study of the 888-foot ship must be completed before any repair can begin. A report is expected by January.

Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette believes it will cost about $6 million to clean compartments of any chemicals and liquids.

No money has been budgeted for repairs, and most of the work likely will be a decade away.

The aging warship has been docked at Patriots Point since 1975.

Repair estimates include about $20 million in hull work.

– Associated Press


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