(WBTW) – Tourist season is here, which means millions of people are traveling to this area adding that many more cars to the road.
News 13 obtained data from South Carolina Highway Patrol to see which intersections in Horry and Florence counties are the most dangerous.
U.S. Highway 17 Business and Highway 544 had the most crashes in Horry County with 277 collisions from 2016 to 2018.
Corporal Sonny Collins, with the SCHP, wasn’t shocked to see that top the list.
“That’s a huge intersection whether you’re going to the sound end, Garden City, Surfside or coming north from Myrtle Beach. So, just the sheer volume of traffic does not surprise me,” said Cpl. Collins.
Out of those nearly 300 crashes, one person died and 83 others were hurt.
With tourists and locals navigating the area this time of year, one wreck can have a domino effect.
“If you have a wreck at, let’s say 17 and 544, it only takes a couple of minutes of stopped traffic for it to back up in all directions very quickly, which a lot of times causes secondary collisions,” said Cpl. Collins.
News 13 asked officials what they’re doing about these dangerous intersections.
“That whole corridor has been a priority since probably goes back to the early 2000s,” said Grand Strand Transportation Study Director Mark Hoeweler.
After nearly two decades, those with the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study, or GSATS, got the project funded, and construction to fix the problem is underway.
SCDOT officials said a designated acceleration lane on Hwy 17 southbound will be added, they will lengthen dual turn lanes going northbound, and will remove one of the access points onto Frontage Road. Those and more improvements along Hwy 17 have a price tag of $12.5 million and are expected to be done in two years.
GSATS is a planning organization that works with the federal highway and DOT to prioritize transportation improvements like intersections.
They are working on solutions to the rest of the top five dangerous intersections in Horry County.
- US 17 and SC 544, with 277 Collisions
- US 501 and Gardner Lacy Road, with 191 collisions
- US 501 and SC 544, with 184 collisions
- US 17 and US 501, with 170 collisions
- US 17 and Holmestown Road, with 164 collisions
Horry County Ride 3 is funding a widening project on 501 that will improve the second dangerous intersection in the county, US 501 and Gardner Lacy Road.
US 501 and Hwy 544 is third and improvements to that area are in the GSATS long-range plan, but right now there is no funding.
Ride 3 is also funding a realignment project at Hwy 17 and Hwy 501.
GSATS only gets about $8 million a year from federal tax money to pay for these projects. Their budget can’t afford some of the improvements needed. That’s where Horry County Ride 3 came in to help.
“Because a lot of those projects in the past and present is funded through Ride, it allows us to expand that plan and put other things in it,” said Hoeweler.
In Florence County, these are the top five intersections with the most crashes:
- SC 51 and US 52 with 168 collisions
- US 52 and I-95 with 155 collisions
- S 29 and US 76 with 121 collisions
- S 29 and SC 51 with 112 collisions
- S 13 and S 31 with 110 collisions
SCDOT said there are long term plans to address the most dangerous intersections in Florence County, but no funding has been identified.
Here are the top 10 dangerous intersections in the South Carolina:
- I-26 and SC 75 in Charleston County, with 392 collisions
- I-85 and SC 290 in Spartanburg County, with 341 collisions
- I-85 and SC 492 in Greenville County, with 340 collisions
- I-20 and US 176 in Richland County, with 328 collisions
- I-20 and I-26 in Lexington County, with 293 collisions
- I-85 and I-385 in Greenville County, with 277 collisions.
- US 17 and SC 544 in Horry County, with 277 collisions
- SC 146 and I-385 in Greenville County, with 277 collisions
- I-26 and SC 671 in Lexington County, with 247 collisions
- SC 28 and SC 34 in Anderson County, with 242 collisions