International Drive Construction Begins

By Paul Gable

After a series of legal delays orchestrated by the Coastal Conservation League and its allies, Horry County is moving forward on constructing the road bed on International Drive.

According to sources familiar with the court proceedings, a SC District Court judge ordered the permits issued after Horry County won the latest round in court.

Now, with the SCDHEC water quality and US Army Corps of Engineers wetland fill permits in hand, county officials hope to have the road bed ready for emergency vehicles within 60 days.

Further court challenges from CCL could be forthcoming. But, for the present, work on International Drive is moving forward.

The entire project will not be completed for approximately 12 months. Requests for Proposals from contractors desiring to bid on the project are expected to be advertised in October.

Meanwhile Horry County employees from the county’s Infrastructure and Regulation Division are completing preliminary work such as right of way clearing and getting the road bed up to standards that can handle emergency vehicles. This is expected to be accomplished over the next 60 days.

The picture accompanying this post shows Horry County Council member Johnny Vaught and Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus standing in front of a bulldozer with a picture of Vaught’s late uncle, Lt. Gen. James B. Vaught, on the blade.

Gen. Vaught, a Conway native who during his 38 year Army career accumulated many significant achievements including establishing what is now called the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), was the county’s strongest proponent for International Drive. It’s safe to say he carried the ball for the project well before the current neighborhoods in Carolina Forest that will benefit from the road were developed.

A section of International Drive has been dedicated as Lt. Gen. James B. Vaught Highway by Horry County Council in honor of his contribution.

Somewhere up in Heaven, Gen. Vaught has to be smiling today as work is going forward to make International Drive a reality.

From many personal conversations with Gen. Vaught through the years, I know he considered this project to be every bit as important for Horry County as establishing JSOC was for the U.S. military.

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