CAROLINA FOREST, S.C. (WBTW) — The Carolina Forest community is getting a new traffic light, but some residents are concerned it might make the roads worse before it makes them better.

Cars lined up at 3 p.m. Wednesday afternoon on both sides of the road in front of Carolina Forest High School. Cars were backed up for almost a half-mile toward Highway 501, but that didn’t stop some cars from trying to go around the traffic.

The traffic came from both directions, and children were trying to cross the street in between the passing cars.

“I would’ve had a problem if my kids went there,” Clear Pond resident Monica Montalbano said. “Every school usually has a light to where the kids have to cross. That’s dangerous.”

Many people said on Wednesday that the new traffic light has been needed for a while, for both student safety and traffic flow.

“Well, if they’re coming from 501, there’s not enough room for them to get over so they’re blocking the right lane waiting on their kids,” Montalbano said. “If they’re coming from here, they’re sitting in the left lane.”

Horry County Government and Horry County Schools started design plans for the new traffic signal in January. That came after parents and educators spoke with Horry County Government and Schools.

Randy Waddell, also a Clear Pond resident, said the new traffic light is needed but that construction will affect traffic on nearby roads.

“It’s already terrible,” Waddell said. “We all use Waterford as a cut-through to go over, and then you have the elementary school system which I sat in line for 20 minutes this morning because of their traffic.”

Waddell said a traffic light has been needed for years, but said he thinks now is the best time for the project.

“Gardner Lacy has probably doubled or tripled just in the amount of cars that go up and down it because of the growth in the Clear Pond community,” he said.

Horry County officials said the work on the signal will involve utility relocation, road widening and signal installation.

“Whether it affects me or not, it’s what the high school needs, it’s what those students need,” Montalbano said.

Horry County officials expect the project to be done by the end of the year.

Jackie LiBrizzi is a multimedia journalist at News13. Jackie is originally from Hamilton, New Jersey, and raised in Piedmont, South Carolina. Jackie joined the News13 team in June 2023 after she graduated as a student-athlete from the University of South Carolina in May 2023. Follow Jackie on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and read more of her work here.