HARDEEVILLE, SC (WSAV) – South Carolina’s Governor, Senator Lindsey Graham, and local lawmakers from around the Lowcountry gathered Monday to tout a new highway project which is predicted to be a game-changer not just for Hardeeville, but for the entire area.
“One little thing here or there whether its an exit or an inland port or one manufacturer changes everything,” explained Governor Henry McMaster.
That change is starting at the Riverport Industrial Park in Hardeeville.
“North Signal Capital investing $250 million in first 10 over the next ten years,” said Harry Williams, Hardeeville Mayor.
A 150,000 square foot building is already in place. Just the first of a four-mile stretch of road, and 4 million square feet of spec buildings ready to rent out to companies who want to come and work in the Lowcountry.
it’s all just off of Interstate 95, at the soon to come Exit 3.
“This is a game-changer. This means everything. I need South Carolina when folks come across from Georgia, to look like Greenville does and Spartanburg. Exit 3, when you see these buildings that will be a part of riverport will make us look like we are poised, ready and able to make sure we are an industrial area but an educational area, health care.” explains South Carolina State Senator Margie Bright-Matthews.
A $56 million project, paid for by a request from Jasper County and the city of Hardeeville. S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank approved a $28.1 million grant and a $28.1 million loan to help build the new interchange at Purrysburg Road and I-95.
It is more than a decade in the making. A key piece of infrastructure celebrated now by the Governor, local and national leaders for what it can do to a rural area like Jasper County, starting with jobs.
“We are talking about permanent jobs vs part-time jobs or temp services jobs, we are talking about liveability,” said State Representative Shedron Williams.
“These are not tourism jobs either, these are real jobs,” said St Senator Matthews. “And that is what makes the difference. that way all of the children will want to come back, that way your children will want to be here in the Lowcountry.”
“The exit always brings new hotels, gas station, new eateries,” says Mayor Williams. “So there will be a whole zone of new commerce.”
“We have I-95,” explains St. Sen. Tom Davis. “We have railroads, CSX and Norfolk Southern, We have a great port from the savannah river we have economic development knocking on the doors right now.”
That growth could soon include the long-discussed Jasper Ocean Terminal. The Governor says Exit 3 is a gateway to speeding up that project
“its a long road, its been too long but this time is now to get serious about this and bring all the parties together that have a role to play and get moving,” says Governor McMaster.
“There is no actual date but it can’t be too soon. There is great interest, there are great reasons to have the jasper port. This area is growing. We have great people, it is a great part of the state. Charleston Port is a great port, we have two inland ports, one in Greer and one in Dillon. they have changed things. The Jasper ocean terminal will change things even more and better.”
The interchange is expected to finished at the same time as the widening of I-95 is completed, around 2022.
Officials say when completed, it is expected to create about 24,000 jobs, and bring in as much as $3 billion in tax money and revenue to the Lowcountry.