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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The future of an extension of Interstate 526 in Charleston is in doubt after the South Carolina Department of Transportation refused to take over the $558 million project.

Officials announced in January they wanted the state to take over the project because Charleston County couldn't agree on how to finish the final link of the highway between James Island and Johns Island in the western Charleston suburbs.

But the DOT board unanimously voted Wednesday to send the I-526 project back to the county.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told the board the highway was vital for economic growth and hurricane evacuations. But opponents said the new highway was unnecessary and it cost too much money that could be used in other regions of South Carolina.

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