SOCASTEE, SC (WMBF) - Groundwork and drainage projects are underway along the future Highway 31 South extension.
A spokesperson for the Carolina Bays Parkway project says when completed, the extension will stretch four miles from its current terminus at SC-544.
Project spokeswoman Debbie Harwell says crews are currently working on a one-mile stretch of the extension. While the project at large is being funded by the State Infrastructure Bank in cooperation with Horry County, the initial preparation phase is being paid for through federal stimulus money.
"That funding let us start this project early," Harwell explained. "That means the soils will have a chance to settle at the road banks and we will be able to pave a little bit early."
L&L Contractors Inc. was awarded a contract for $7.4 million for the earthwork and drainage for the initial segment between SC-544 and Peachtree Road. The South Carolina Department of Transportation anticipates the remaining work will begin in the fall.
The extension will include a 3,632-foot bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, which will lead to an interchange between Leonard Road and Moss Creek Road at SC-707.
"I think this is an extremely important project," Harwell added. "This project will take traffic off of the Bypass, 17 Bypass, which is extremely clogged on the southern end right now."
Completion is expected to take two and a half to three years.