Myrtle Beach works to relieve traffic congestion

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach says Third Avenue South is one of the main ways to get to the beach. Anyone who has to use the street to get around agrees traffic can really get backed up later in the day and in the mornings.

Especially in situations like in the next few days, when there will be plenty of tourists in town for the Labor Day holiday.

"Well coming in when the weekend starts and everybody's coming in it gets backed up," said Johnny Sparks, who drives on Third Avenue South. "And then leaving on Sunday afternoon when everybody's checking out of the motels it gets backed up there too."

The two lane roadway being crowded with cars has caused problems in the past. There seems to be not enough room for all the traffic, because when there are emergencies, cars have to pull up on the sidewalk just to make way for emergency vehicles.

You may remember the fatal accident a couple of months ago, that crash caused the entire roadway to be shut down for hours. Shutting down the road, usually causes traffic problems in other areas, especially since it connects with two of the busiest highways-- 501 and 17 Business.

SCDOT and the City of Myrtle Beach have noticed these issues, and now the improvement plans are ready to hit the pavement for you and for those who come to visit.

"It's been on the five year horizon for a couple of years, and it just rose to the top," said Dave Sebok with the Downtown Redevelopment Corporation. "And we've had a design for a couple of years because it's been on the plans to do this."

There have been plans to work on Third Avenue South for years, and now there will be plenty happening soon. The city and SCDOT will put in about 10 million dollars worth of work on the stretch of roadway.

On the SCDOT's side, the work will widen Third Avenue South to three lanes. So there will be one permanent turning lane for cars to turn on and off the road. This will be from Kings Highway all the way to Highway 501. Where the city picks up the work, there will be alterations to some of the turns, wider sidewalks, and all the utility lines will be moved underground.

People hope these improvements will be the solution to traffic problems.

"A lot of people hang out in the right lane and don't move," said Sparks. "And it's a little bit frustrating. But if they would widen that road, I'm sure it would move out faster."

Since this is such a big project, the plan is to get started as soon as the last group of tourists roll out of the area. You can expect to see work starting by the end of September. The construction will stick around for a while, as project managers say it will be at least two years to get the project finished.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.