SCDOT continues work on dangerous intersection by CCU

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The death of Coastal Carolina University student Elizabeth Gorshack launched concerns over students crossing Hwy. 544 by the back gate entrance into the university, leading the school to ask SCDOT to install a traffic light. However, four months after her death, there is still no light by Founders Drive.

When the Horry County Transportation Committee first heard about the need for funding, they immediately stepped up, offering money for the project.

Coastal Carolina University says they have the money in hand, ready to sign the check to make the intersection safer, but so far, no work is seen on the side of Hwy. 544 by Founders Drive.

"We have the money in hand, we're just waiting for the engineers to finish the schematics, the encroachments, analysis, to get all that done," explains Eddie Dyer, the Executive Vice President and COO of Coastal Carolina University.

The issue comes from who owns what land. The university says the engineer is working on encroachment permitting. This means engineers are looking at all the property along Hwy. 544 to make sure the project will not infringe on any one else's land.

The location of the intersection adds to the complication because some of the area is owned by the state, the county or even privately.

"At some point, when the plans are approved, we'll need to put bids out to get someone to do the work," explains Dyer.

That bidding process can take months.

"It is somewhat of a lengthy process," says Dyer.

But engineers say this time frame is normal for a project like this. They do not see any problems with getting everything approved and estimate the project to be finished in 4-6 months. The bulk of the construction will only take about 30-45 days of that time.

CCU hopes to have the new traffic light up and working before the current semester ends and summer traffic makes the highway even busier.

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