Horry County delays bidding process for International Drive after court order
December 22nd, 2016
Horry County officials on Wednesday announced they would postpone the bidding process for constructing International Drive because of a court order forcing them to halt work on the project.
"Horry County is cancelling the solicitation of construction bids at this time," county spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said via email. "The county will retain the bids in sealed form until further notice."
The news came a day after the S.C. Court of Appeals ordered the county to stop construction on the 5.6-mile section of road between Carolina Forest and S.C. 90. The work will cease until two conservation groups suing the county can have their appeal heard in court.
The Coastal Conservation League and the S.C. Wildlife Federation have sued the county over International Drive in state and federal courts, arguing the project will damage protected wetlands.
So far, their cases have not been successful.
International Drive has been in the works for more than a decade.
Horry voters approved the project in a 2006 sales tax referendum. Construction was supposed to begin in 2015, but environmental objections put the brakes on the work.
Conservationists first challenged the state certifications in court, and in July a state judge ruled in the county’s favor. The conservationists appealed that decision.
County officials, however, received the federal permits for the project and opted to begin work anyway.
That prompted the conservationists to file a federal lawsuit in an effort to stop the county from working on the project.
Last month, a federal judge sided with the county, forcing the conservationists to take that case to the U.S. Fourth Circuit of Appeals.
The state appellate court, however, agreed to stop construction on International Drive. The court sided with the conservationists, who argued the work should be halted to precent their appeal from becoming meaningless.