CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — The new Highway 90, 905, and Conway Perimeter Task Force met for the first time Friday to discuss future goals and area growth projections.
The main theme coming out of the meeting was access. Access to identify the critical needs of the public, transportation access and access to improve the roadways.
“I just feel we owe it to the residents at this point,” Committee member and Highway 90 resident Felicia Soto said.
The task force’s main goals are to address public safety issues like flooding and traffic, and move forward with road projects. Members suggest starting with short-term feasibility studies and then moving into long-term projects.
“The last thing we really [want to] do is throw good money after bad. And really in order to make the improvements to a major corridor like Highway 90, we really do have to provide that type of level of study,” Horry County Rising Founder and committee member April O’Leary said.
Immediate improvements include possible traffic lights and turning lanes, as well as placing gaps on the highways to split up streams of traffic. This would allow residents to get out of their neighborhoods more easily.
“If we don’t have access, we don’t have anything. We’ve got to have access on these roads, exits and entry ways,” Horry County Councilman Al Allen said.
State Representative Tim McGinnis said they’re also looking into the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS), which focuses on the Highway 17 corridor. If approved, their plan is to piggyback Highway 90 onto that study so that within a year, they can identify the critical parts that need to be improved.
“By piggybacking onto another study, that’s money we won’t have to spend down the road and time we won’t have to take to get that study completed on our own,” McGinnis said.
McGinnis and Senator Greg Hembree will also ask the state for $100 million for Highway 90. With both the money and the GSATS study, they can then start making the improvements needed.
“It’s no surprise that we’d be asking for that kind of money to come back to Horry County because we are growing so quickly and the Highway 90 corridor is one of the fast growing parts of the county which is one of the fastest growing parts of the country,” McGinnis said.
The next meeting for the task force is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Dec. 8. The plan is to come back with new suggestions like locations for short-term projects, a phasing plan and guidance from the Department of Transportation.