HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – In just a matter of days, you will start seeing major work all along Highway 707 as the project to widen the heavily-traveled highway begins.
South Carolina Department of Transportation workers are getting ready to clear for the project, removing trees, and once they're done the utility work will begin. Some companies are already out doing preliminary work, but that is just the beginning.
The utility phase of the project will be a long process, because there are seven utility companies trying to work at the same time in the same area to prepare for the widening. Once that work wraps up, the actual paving will start. The end result will be Highway 707 spanning five lanes wide, starting at Enterprise Road and ending where 707 meets 17 Bypass in Georgetown.
The first area that will see work for the widening project is the intersection of Highway 707 and Big Block Road. WMBF News has talked to drivers before about how dangerous the intersection can be.
"I sit there and wait to see if anybody is going to speed," said driver Charlotte Adams. "I've almost got hit several times if I'd a went ahead and pulled out."
Out of the more than nine miles of work that will be happening soon to widen Highway 707, SCDOT will now focus its attention on Big Block Road before anything else. The original plan was to start working on the intersection at the start of the paving project, but because of the number of accidents in the area and pressure from Horry County officials, SCDOT moved it up the priority list. Now the work to put in a traffic light and turn lanes in all directions at the intersection will start before the paving of the widening project.
Drivers in the area think it's a necessary move.
"I think that's an excellent idea," said Scot Ferrechete. "I know people don't like lights but it makes it safer for everybody."
Representatives couldn't give an exact start date, but the plan is to have a light up and running by next fall. The clearing of the trees should start by November 1st, while the paving part of the widening project is still scheduled for Spring of 2014.