Grand Strand

RIDE III conceptual plans move along for U.S. 701 widening

LORIS, SC (WBTW) - Another project in the Horry County RIDE III program is moving forward: a $7.5 million plan to widen U.S. Highway 701.

Horry County is growing even further inland like near the city of Loris.

"We had (state) highway 9 business east," said Doris Potter Hickman, who's lived in Loris for 47 years. "It was so crowded. Then, we got our bypass and it was just heaven-sent."

The city is now looking at another project to widen U.S. 701 between Dogwood Street and South Carolina Highway 9 Bypass, just outside the city. The two lanes would be widened on the road where many travel to or from North Carolina. A center turning lane and sidewalks would also be added the entire way.

The design of the 701 widening is the latest plan unveiled by the state department of transportation in Horry County's RIDE III program.

"Just because of the growth here, the amount of crashes, the injuries and the amount of traffic that was out here is why it made it on to the list," said Marla Watson, an assistant program manager with SCDOT.

The SCDOT says about 10,900 vehicles traveled on this section of U.S. 701 in 2017. In the last five years, 84 crashes have happened on it, causing 45 injuries. Forty-two percent were rear-end collisions and 35 percent were angle crashes.

Another section of 701 near the Conway Bypass is also scheduled to be widened under RIDE III.

Watson says the plans for RIDE III are moving along.

"RIDE III is off to a great start," she said. "The majority of our projects have conceptual designs. Some of them have entered into preliminary design, so it's off to a great start."

Loris residents at Tuesday's meeting say they hope widening 701 makes the road safer.

"It'll ease some congestion of vehicles that are turning and it doesn't look like there's going to be too much eminent domain," said Wendy Baruch of Loris.

Another RIDE III project is listed for the Loris area. That one would expand SC 9 Business just east of the city into four lanes.

The 701 widening in Loris is expected to begin in spring 2022 and finish by fall 2024.

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