The long-time I-73 project through South Carolina will soon force a number of Pee Dee residents out of their homes and businesses. Although initial work on the 60-mile SCDOT project began 20 years ago, it has picked up considerably in recent years.
The routes proposed have especially drawn much criticism from those who live between I-95 and S.C. 22 in Horry County. Many have been told they'll have to relocate soon.
One such resident is D & J Convenience Store owner Jan Pate of Latta. Her 22-year-old store is conveniently located at the intersection of Highways 301 and 501. "It's all local people," says Pate. "I have no tourists, you know. It's just everyday people for lunch and dinner. They're big family people, and everybody knows everybody here."
Pate says her location has helped her business, and fears it won't do as well elsewhere. "I was a little devastated, because I think I've got the best location around because traffic is on and off. You've got easy on and easy off," she explains. "So I just think my location is the best around, and I really hate I've got to leave."
Because Pate rents the building, she is not being reimbursed for moving expenses.
"I think probably by the end of January maybe will be my last month here, from what I understand," she concedes. "That's just what they're telling me."
The SCDOT entertained concerns from residents and business owners at several public meetings, but says it is inevitable that some would have to move.