SCDOT narrows choice for Conway perimeter road, Sandridge residents unsure

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – SCDOT says it’s close to finalizing where a new road will go that some people fear would hurt the history of their part of the city.

Several people who live in the Sandridge community say the second phase of the Conway perimeter road project puts tourism interests ahead of people living in the western part of the city.

“What we saw tonight is big business, big subdivision and big money won,” said Cedric Blain-Spain, who’s opposed to the plan. “Now you think you can take out the little man because what it did, it just curved around all the main subdivisions in the area.”

The new road is in Horry County’s RIDE III program and would cost an estimated $13-18 million. It would connect U.S. Highway 378 at El Bethel Road to U.S. Highway 701, about a mile west of the U.S. Highway 501 intersection. El Bethel was phase one of the perimeter road project.

SCDOT studied five potential routes earlier this summer. Engineers unveiled their preferred corridor during a meeting at the Horry County courthouse Thursday. Within that 300-foot-wide preferred corridor are four road options, with one selected as the best fit.

This link has the preferred roadway alignment, along with other information from the meeting under the “public information meeting 2” tab.

“It alleviates traffic through downtown Conway and it accounts for future growth of the area,” said SCDOT program manager Stacey Johnson.

SCDOT says the top choice route will avoid cemeteries and historic buildings like churches, which were concerns for those around Sandridge.

“Within that corridor, we used a best fit model to avoid a lot of those impacts,” Johnson said.

SCDOT says that best fit would go through about three-quarters of an acre of Sandridge Park, as well as six homes. Earlier proposals would have forced people in up to 53 homes to move.

Some Sandridge residents say they’ll take this choice if the road is to be built, but others say it shouldn’t be there at all.

“I would just rather the county go with their preferred one that they had in 2016 when they had it on the referendum,” Blain-Spain said.

SCDOT also says it hasn’t approached anyone about buying property for the road yet. Some people in Sandridge received scam letters claiming to be from the SCDOT. Engineers say an SCDOT representative would directly visit you if your house was wanted for a right-of-way acquisition.

The perimeter road is scheduled to be finished in summer 2024.

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