Carolina Forest Boulevard widening may begin in June, RIDE II projects wrapping up

Grand Strand

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – As Horry County’s RIDE II road construction program is nearly complete, one of the most expensive projects in the RIDE III program is finally close to beginning.

Carolina Forest Boulevard is known in that part of the county for its traffic.

People who live in the rapidly growing community say they’re anxious to finally see construction on the busy boulevard.

“We’re supposed to meet somebody at 5:30 and you feel like you have to leave at 4:30 to get five minutes up the road,” said Beth Bellew, who lives in the Covington Lake East neighborhood.

The state Department of Transportation updated county council tuesday on the RIDE III program, which includes widening Carolina Forest Boulevard. Construction was expected start in December, but it didn’t.

Contractor bids are due May 3. If one is accepted, the estimated $54.7 million project could begin in early June.

SCDOT also says a few minor projects are all that’s left in the RIDE II program. South Carolina Highway 707 just needs sound walls and final surfacing and is 84% complete.

Final touches are being done on Glenns Bay Road and International Drive. Glenns Bay Road is 94% complete and International Drive is 91% complete. Both roads are completely open to traffic.

Back in Carolina Forest, people say they can’t wait for the four-lane boulevard after the two-year-long project is finished.

“It’s got to be better than it is now, absolutely,” said Bellew. “You’ve got all these new subdivisions down in here and they’re continuing to build.”

SCDOT also gave a couple updates on RIDE III projects still being planned.

The South Carolina Highway 31 northern extension to the North Carolina state line is in the preliminary engineering phase. SCDOT says it’s meeting every three months with North Carolina officials to discuss the project.

Design teams will also make presentations to SCDOT on May 6 about the Southern Evacuation Lifeline, also known as the SELL. That’s a proposed highway running from the U.S. Highway 17 Bypass near Garden City to U.S. Highway 501 near Aynor.

Funding for SELL has stalled after the federal government withdrew from supporting it last year.

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