Speed Patrol: Sea Mountain Highway

North Myrtle Beach, SC - By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - This week WMBF News traveled to Sea Mountain Highway in Little River where one viewer says there is a need for traffic control in front of the North Myrtle Beach High School.

The viewer wrote: "There are three entrances to NMB High, student parking, bus transportation, parent/visitor/employee parking entrance, with NO traffic control. During school hours traffic exceeds the speed limit!! There have been numerous accidents at or near the student entrance where vehicles pull out or in to beat the oncoming traffic. Sea Mountain HWY is a popular cut-through from HWY 17 to Hwy 9, crossing HWY 90, and the back entrance to Sea Coast Hosp. Many requests have been made for some form of traffic control during school hours, without results!"

At North Myrtle Beach Repair across from the high school they get a full dose of school zone traffic every day.

"In the mornings it's atrocious trying to get in an get out," Mike Manes said, noting they have had adjust their hours to deal with the traffic. "We end up having to close later in the afternoon and open later in the morning to compensate for that traffic problem."

He says with the multiple entrances to the school, traffic gets stopped-up at multiple spots.

"You hear them blow the horn every now and then," Manes said. "You see a few wrecks over there."

Even though the school zone speed limit is just 35 mph, the WMBF News Radar gun found a few drivers unwilling to slow down, adding speed to the already-crowded mix.

"Every once in a while I'll have a couple of cars zooming by," NBHS Social Studies teacher Robert Decerbo said. "I'll kind of look at them. They're not paying attention - they just want to get through Sea Mountain Highway."

Decerbo says he gets in before things get too busy and says for the most part cars seem to be obeying the rules or avoiding the area altogether.

"The mentality is that it's a school, there's probably going to be a police officer waiting," Decerbo said. "So they'll probably just stay on [Highway] 9 and avoid going this way."

South Carolina Highway Patrol says they do make school zones like the one on Sea Mountain Highway a priority, but no security or police officer is regularly scheduled to cover the area.

"If they had somebody out there to get the traffic to come in and out I don't think it would be as bad," Manes argued.

The school's principal says he has not heard any direct complaints about traffic in the area or requests for a designated officer to direct traffic.

Highway Patrol says typically such a request would come through the school's resource officer to their department, which in this case would be Horry County Police. At this time the traffic officer says he too has not heard of any complaints.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation did conduct a traffic study on the area at the request of parents for a traffic light. SCDOT says it determined a traffic light was not justified considering the traffic flow only saw a large influx of vehicles two times a day: as students arrived at school and at the end of the school day.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.