Beautification project underway in Surfside Beach

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Surfside Beach is making big changes in an effort to beautify the town.  Several Bradford Pear trees that sat on the medians along Business 17 were cut down this week. It's part of a beautification project that began two years ago.

The town received a grant from the SCDOT for $40,000 and Surfside Beach added $10,000. Mayor Doug Samples said the trees were becoming a hazard for drivers.

"I'm told they've become very unstable and become a safety hazard in terms of the wind," Mayor Samples said. "They split very easy. So those trees have gotten to their useful life span."

The new vegetation will be compromised of five new beds of indigenous plants. Wayne Roberts works along Business 17 and said he drives the road every day and was surprised to see the big change.

"I was shocked when I first saw it day before yesterday because it just looked naked but it has opened the highway and I believe it will relieve traffic stress and make it safer for tourists to travel the road," Roberts said.

Mayor Samples said the project is mainly a beautification project, but it could help reduce the number of accidents on the road.

"Without getting into the public safety issues, accidents certainly if trees break and if you can't see line of sight issues it may help along those lines. But this is a landscaping median project that I believe the town and GSATS have been working on for several years," Mayor Samples said.

Mayor Samples said there are several other changes in the works in an effort to make the busy stretch of highway safer.

"We've experienced this past year several tragic accidents and some of that I've got to believe, well nobody denies, even SCDOT acknowledges that there are too many conflict points along that transportation corridor," Mayor Samples said.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.