Plan in place for International Drive extension -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Plan in place for International Drive extension

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By Brandon Herring - bio | email

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - Since March, Horry County leaders and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have reached an agreement on how to build the extension of International Drive. Earlier in the year the plan was slowed by concerns from DNR because the road will pass through the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.

The section of International Drive that is paved is already in Carolina Forest is well-traveled. So it is understandable county leaders and drivers would want to connect it to Highway 90.

"It makes it more convenient to get to Conway," commented Bob Jaeger who lives in Carolina Forest. "You don't have to fight the traffic on 501, which can be a real bear sometimes."

Jaeger did not intend a pun by using the word "bear," but bears are a major concern for DNR. The preserve is home to black bears and rare woodpeckers. So the department of natural resources asked the county to include bear crossings, which are actually areas where the road rises to allow bears to pass naturally underneath. There must also be fencing that is 8 ft. high near the sides of the road. Each end of International Drive will also have a gate so DNR can close it for controlled burns.

"When you have infrastructure projects, the permitting, the requirements, the environmental, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to get the project ready before you can actually go out and build a road," explained county spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.

Now that the county and DNR have agreed on what is needed, the county has to wait on the funding. The road is number 13 on a list of 15 road projects the county's "Riding on a Penny" sales tax is paying for.

"We can't spend any more than we collect over the next seven years, but we've been looking pretty good, Bourcier said. "So we believe the funding will be there for that project."

It is expected to take until 2013 to get past some of the other projects on the penny sales tax list. If the tax brings in enough money, that is when this paving is expected to begin.

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