HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – SCDOT is planning nearly $19.8 million of changes to some busy intersections on the South Strand.
Many drivers going from Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach to Garden City or Murrells Inlet travel on Kings Highway. U.S. Highway 17 Business in Garden City is always busy around rush hour, even in the offseason.
SCDOT is looking to make the traffic there more efficient and safer. Engineers unveiled plans on Thursday that they say will improve three major intersections.
Rep. Lee Hewitt, a Republican representing Murrells Inlet, says he’s not sure if this plan is the right one.
“There were a lot of concerns, as there is any time when you have change, among the homeowners and neighborhoods such as Mount Gilead,” said Rep. Hewitt.
Three intersections on Kings Highway are expected to be changed as part of Horry County’s RIDE III program. Those projects would happen at the Garden City Connector, Atlantic Avenue and Inlet Square Drive intersections.
The project, however, would remove left turns onto Kings Highway from the side streets at the Garden City Connector and Inlet Square Drive intersections. Instead, you’d have to use one of four “indirect left turns.”
At those new intersections, drivers stop at a light and make a U-turn to change directions on Kings Highway.
“If you’re a tourist, it’s going to be very confusing if you’re in the left lane, thinking that you’re going to be going into Murrells Inlet,” Rep. Hewitt said. “Next thing you know, you could be U-turning and be headed back to Myrtle Beach.”
Rep. Hewitt says while improvements are needed, the indirect left hand turns may not be the best option for people living off Kings Highway and businesses.
“What do you lose by trying to get a traffic flow quicker and where are those cars going to go once you get them through those intersections quicker?” said Rep. Hewitt. “What’s the offset of the impact to businesses?”
Construction is expected to start in the winter of 2022. The project is expected to finish in the summer of 2023.
Rep. Hewitt says you have until Dec. 6 to send any comments about this plan to SCDOT.