MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Major road improvements are in full swing along a busy street first profiled by WMBF News Speed Patrol in September 2009 - an area some have called 'dangerous' for pedestrians.
With the help of a stimulus grant, Horry County and Myrtle Beach city officials are working to complete a $400,000 project to improve the roadway, including a two-foot widening of the road, the addition of a sidewalk and placement of piping in ditches to help rid the area of mosquitoes.
The addition does not include a bicycle lane because of right of way restrictions, but officials say cyclists can use the multi-purpose sidewalk to say out of the roadway.
"I'm glad they're finally putting in a sidewalk because walking on the road is a real hassle," Demetrick Caesar told WMBF News.
Caesar has been walking and riding his bike along Pine Island Road for years and says he is tired of almost getting run over.
The road is currently restricted to one lane around the construction, but the noise and traffic does not seem to bother Caesar.
"If I have to deal with it for a couple more months to get a sidewalk, I think I'll deal with it," he said.
W.L. Ammons, who lives along the roadway, was quick to agree: "It doesn't bother be a bit, but just think what we're going to have when it's finished."
Ammons jokes that he is enjoying being a "sidewalk supervisor" as he watches the construction move along day by day.
The improvements have most neighbors like Ammons on board with the project.
"Granted, there will always be one or two people that will still be a little nervous about having a sidewalk in their front yard, but I think for the most part everybody is pretty pleased," explained Steve Moore, the city's superintendent of streets and drainage.
Even though the street is technically a state road, the City of Myrtle Beach has offered to take on the construction of the project.
"We're actually doing this work with their blessing under an encroachment permit," Moore commented. "They have agreed to come back in the next year and actually put a traffic signal in at Highway 15 and Pine Island."
Moore says they're anticipating that happening around February 2011.
"That could slip a little bit, but they have agreed to do this," Moore noted.
Officials say they have had the project on their radar for some time, but they simply have not had the funding for it until the arrival of federal stimulus money.
Moore says winter weather has held back construction by about a month. The project is now expected to be completed sometime in June.
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