HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Highway 501 Beautification project had a targeted finish date of mid-May, but was delayed for several weeks. The project, aimed to bring beauty to A gateway into Myrtle Beach on Highway 501 from the Tanger Outlet Mall to the Fantasy Harbor Overpass, is set to begin within weeks. The project was delayed after local landscapers bid offers came back to the county too high.
"We did have the project put out for bid, but those bids did come back a lot more expensive than we anticipated," Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said.
"What we did is actually put it back out for bid to drum up more interest from additional contractors, and they came back in and we were able to award a contract," Bourcier added.
The plants that will be added along the center medians include 85 Crepe Myrtles, 32 Sabal Palms, 126 Tea Olive bushes, 192 shrubs, and 498 decorative grasses.
The beautification project costs a total of $92,000, and roughly $50,000 of that is coming from the county's accommodations tax. The rest is from a tree mitigation fund. The county is also expecting to approve money in the next fiscal year's budget for this project.
In April, the Department of Transportation removed six Bradford Pear Trees which were once in the center medians on the highway.
The project includes the removal of the trees, placements of new landscaping, and routine maintenance of the grass.
"It's important to us to really take good care of our thoroughfares, our grand entrances into the Myrtle Beach area," Bourcier said.
Bourcier explains the beautification along 501 is something the county has needed to do, "there are a lot of entry ways into the beach. A lot of those need to be updated and taken care of better than what it has been." Bourcier adds entry ways all throughout the county will soon be looked at for aesthetic improvement.
A contract has been signed between the county and a local landscaper, but the name of the landscaper wasn't immediately available. The work is set to begin within the next few weeks. Bourcier said a projected end date would be before the close of summer. The company has 45 days to complete the job once it begins.