CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Some people in the city’s west end are worried an estimated $18.4 million new road will destroy several historical sites if it’s built.
A new road connecting U.S. highways 378 and 701 is being planned to improve traffic called phase two of the Conway perimeter road project. The road would be four lanes with a median, turning lanes at intersections and a bike path alongside. Many people who live in the Sandridge section of the city are worried several options for the road will disturb neighborhoods, historic buildings and cemeteries.
Some told Horry County Council those fears Tuesday night.
“Hannah Hemingway, my great-grandmother seven times removed, one of the oldest graves in the Sandridge community, was born in 1829,” said Cedric Blain-Spain. “My grandmother’s grave would be the first grave to route corridor (option) number two.”
When the perimeter road was first included in the county’s RIDE III program, there was one proposed route from U.S. 378 at El Bethel road to U.S. 701 near Creel Street, about a mile from the U.S. Highway 501 intersection. SCDOT is now looking at five other options, which could impact homes, churches and Sandridge park. Project manager Marla Watson says SCDOT is studying each route to see which one would affect Sandridge the least.
A chart on SCDOT’s website breaks down what each road could do to the surrounding area.
“That takes into account all of the social impacts, wetland impacts and any other impacts pertinent to each corridor,” Watson said. “Our ultimate goal is to avoid those things.”
Others at Tuesday’s council meeting also say the perimeter road isn’t long enough and will only make traffic around the city’s west side worse.
“The perimeter road should cross 701 south seamlessly to continue across the Waccamaw (River), toward (state) highway 31 and the beaches,” Karen Mayo said.
A final route for the Conway perimeter road has not been selected yet. SCDOT met with neighbors in March and will have another informational meeting next month, where a preferred route is expected to be shown. That meeting will be on August 8 at 5 p.m. at the Horry County courthouse.
Construction is estimated to be completed by summer 2024.