Palmetto Point Boulevard work getting closer to completion

Source: MBH
Source: MBH

From WMBF News Partner the Myrtle Beach Herald

By Tom O'Dare

The original designers of Palmetto Point Boulevard just south of the city limits of Myrtle Beach never envisioned the growth that would occur along the two-laned road.

Today, thousands of Horry County residents live in a variety of residential, apartment and condominium neighborhoods along the road that empties onto the Highway 17 Bypass near the current backgate construction area.

The problem plaguing the residents along Palmetto Point is that the exit onto the bypass is the only way in or out of the area.  That problem may be alleviated within the next few years, according to Horry County council member Bob Grabowski.

Long-standing plans have always called for Palmetto Point to have a second entrance along Highway 544 but the completion of that entrance has been stalled by the drop in the economy over the last several years.

The Jackson Company owns the land between Palmetto Point and Highway 544. The company had plans to expand its Saybrook development and open that area to Palmetto Point. The sagging economy put those plans on hold, which meant there was no need to connect to Palmetto Point. The Saybrook area has since seen a jump in development, especially with the new Target Super Store opening this summer.

Grabowski said the opening of Palmetto Point has moved up the county's road priority list to third in line, the top priority being U.S. 501.

He added that opening the boulevard is contingent upon the Jackson Company beginning the residential phase of the Saybrook development. The county has stipulated that once that phase begins, the road must be opened.  Commercial development at Saybrook was not tied to the agreement to connect to Palmetto Point.

"We've always realized the need to open Palmetto Point," Grabowski said. "There will eventually be three exits on the west end. The first will come out on Highway 544 at Big Block Road. The next will come out at Saybrook and the third near the South Strand Medical Center."

Lynn Baer, president of the Palmetto Glen homeowners association, said opening Palmetto Point had been promised for at least eight years.

"It's something that we want and need very badly," Baer said.  "It will give greater access to the area for emergency vehicles. The traffic will increase but the access for emergency vehicles will outweigh the heavier traffic."