Backgate construction enters next stage

Backgate construction update

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - In the next step of construction on the intersection of Highway 17 Bypass and Farrow Parkway, motorists can expect another major traffic milestone, Horry County officials announced Wednesday.

Beginning on Monday, April 15, southbound traffic on the bypass will be shifted approximately 100 feet west (see graph) onto ramps C and D. Those shifts will begin at approximately 8 p.m. and take about five or six hours to complete.

"That'll be a temporary traffic pattern configuration for about the next year," Said project director Mike Barbee with SCDOT.

Though the road will be open, you are asked to proceed cautiously in this construction area as crews are hard at work.

"We have concrete barriers maybe a foot or less from the roadway and there's men and equipment very close by," Barbee added.  "There's just a lot of things that require to the driver to be very cautious to be aware of the surroundings to really focus on the driving."

The traffic signals in the intersection will go dark from 8:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. to assist crews in completely this traffic shift, but rest assured, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol will be on hand to manage traffic at the intersection.

If you should forget any of the details of this next step in the construction, electronic signs will be in place to let you know what to expect. The speed limit in the area will remain 45 miles per hour.

According to Horry County, construction has been completed through Stage Three. In stage Four, which is scheduled for April 2013 through April 2014, southbound traffic shifts onto ramps C and D, the bridges and approaches are constructed and crews will finish the roadwork on Farrow Parkway and SC707.

Barbee said most drivers think the new changes are a good thing.

"It's been a mostly positive response," Barbee said.  "Obviously there are some people who are not happy but the majority of them have been positive which has been a pleasant surprise."

In addition to the two new driving southbound lanes, there will also be two new left turn lanes connecting drivers to Farrow Parkway.  These turn lanes will be 450 feet long and will replace the single 900 foot turn lane operating right now.

"That'll operate more efficiently," Barbee added.  "It will allow people to get into their choice of travel lane so while it won't double the efficiency it will keep it at or above the same level now."

Stages 5, 5A, 6, 7, and 7A are scheduled for completion in May 2014 through August 2014. During those stages, construction crews will complete the tie-ins on Ramps A, B, C and D to Farrow Parkway and SC 707 and do the final paving on those ramps.

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