GRAND STRAND, SC (WMBF) - New details have emerged Monday morning on the Grand Strand's efforts to move utility lines underground.
Surfside Beach, Myrtle Beach, and North Myrtle Beach all have projects in the works to bury some of the lines.
You see them everywhere. Utility lines that line the street and clutter up intersections, but you can still see companies adding more overhead. The main reason why we have so many overhead utility lines throughout the Grand Strand is because of the cost.
"There [are] a lot of power lines, and it would look much better underground," agrees North Myrtle Beach resident Becky Glidewell.
Some companies say that it costs 10 times as much to bury lines as it does to string them overhead. So in order to keep serving you, many companies prefer to maintain everything above ground.
While it is something cities are working against, utility companies don't have to let the city know when they're planning to add new overhead lines to the mix.
Santee Cooper says they prefer to wait on the city before they do the major work it takes to move utility lines in the ground. That way both can work together, and split the bill.
"Definitely. I think we are a little outdated in that regard, and so I think they need to come down," suggests North Myrtle Beach resident Carlisle Scott.
The City of North Myrtle Beach is working on design plans right now for a $2 to $3 million project that starts with the intersection across from Alligator Adventures. The area will all be a big work zone all the way down to the Ocean Creek Resort, directly across from Barefoot Landing.
The project isn't all just to bury utility lines underground.
When the city does work like this, it also makes other improvements at intersections, like road widening, new turn lanes and new traffic lights.
All this construction work will be similar to what drivers had to deal with during the last project at 6th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach. The city says this work is necessary because all the overhead utility lines can be dangerous during severe weather like hurricanes.
So crews are slowly but surely working to move the power lines all under ground along Highway 17. So far the city has completed work on 9th Avenue North all the way to 6th Avenue South.
People living in North Myrtle Beach say it's necessary for the city to keep up these efforts.
"I think because we live in a resort area, that anything in that nature to improve the landscape is an asset. We have to spend money to make money. And that's the livelihood of a resort," adds Scott.
North Myrtle Beach is still working out how much work will be done and exactly how much it will cost, but this project is expected to officially start in about a year.