‘Completely transformed’: The new Carolina Panthers exit off I-77 gets federal money.

‘Completely transformed’: The new Carolina Panthers exit off I-77 gets federal money.
‘Completely transformed’: The new Carolina Panthers exit off I-77 gets federal money (Source: SCDOT)

ROCK HILL, S.C. (Rock Hill Herald) - An almost $35 million infusion for I-77 will bring the Carolina Panthers headquarters plans closer than they’ve ever been.

U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman issued a statement Monday after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $34.6 million in funding awarded to the South Carolina Department of Transportation for a new interchange on I-77. The exit is near mile marker 81, beside where the Panthers plan a headquarters and training site.

“I could not be happier to see the Carolina Panthers moving their headquarters and practice facilities across the state line into South Carolina,” Norman said in a statement. “The new Exit 81 interchange off I-77 will help make that a reality, and it won’t be long before this part of York County is completely transformed with new businesses, new homes, new jobs and new families.”

The new interchange has been part of the Panthers discussion with road planners for about as long as the headquarters plan itself. Plans show large loops off both sides of the interstate with connection through the Panthers site toward the Mt. Gallant Road area. The team has committed to several other public road improvements in and around its site.

A decision on the Panthers interchange now could focus attention on other congested areas of I-77, like its S.C. 160 and Celanese Road interchanges in Fort Mill and Rock Hill. Both have been listed as major spots of regional concern by the Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study, a multi-jurisdictional group that allocates federal money for roads.