MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – City police are preparing for Memorial Day weekend and the traffic from Bikefest, two months ahead of time.
Hundreds of barricades will be placed along Ocean Boulevard for the three-day weekend. The Myrtle Beach Police Department is planning to set up the controversial traffic loop again, and it’s getting the word out early. MBPD hosted its first community informational meeting about Memorial Day weekend on Thursday.
Police say the loop is there to make sure traffic moves smoothly and to reduce crime.
“It’s important for the people to go ahead and start planning now,” said Capt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach police. “Don’t wait until the last minute. See how you’re going to be impacted by the traffic pattern.”
The loop goes from 29th Avenue North, down Ocean Boulevard to Kings Highway. Traffic is then directed up past Myrtle Beach International Airport, eventually reaching U.S. Highway 501 and South Carolina Highway 31. Traffic then could travel on 31 until either reaching state highway 22 or taking Robert Grissom Parkway to U.S. Highway 17 Bypass, where the circuit finishes.
The NAACP filed another injunction last month to block the city from implementing the traffic pattern. The NAACP claims that the loop is a form of racial discrimination.
Myrtle Beach police plan to use the loop again, saying it improved traffic flow and public safety.
“We felt like we met that objective, so we are very pleased with the operational plan,” Capt. Crosby said.
There’s a chance police stop using the late night traffic loop due to fewer vehicles, like some nights last year. It wasn’t even used that Sunday night because of rain.
Capt. Crosby says police have several tools to decide when it’s needed.
“We have traffic cameras along Ocean Boulevard, so we utilize those cameras,” he said. “Also, by our sight, what are we seeing as a traffic pattern? Then, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division provides us a helicopter.”
Myrtle Beach police will also hold another community meeting on April 11 and two meetings for businesses on April 4 and 18 at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot.