New plans to keep drivers, bears safe on International Drive

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The International Drive project is going to take a few years longer to complete than originally planned, and it will also look a lot different. Some of the changes have to do with wildlife and bears because the road will run straight through a wildlife preserve.

Before plans to pave International Drive from River Oaks Drive to Highway 90 were created, the county came up with a plan to keep drivers and bears from crossing paths on the road.

In 2010, Horry County and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources agreed on a deal that would allow the county to complete the project while also protecting wildlife in the preserve.

That deal required the county to build three animal crossings along the road in addition to a 7 mile long fence that is eight feet tall with barbed wire.  These changes would tack on an extra $3 million to the project.

However, a new deal agreed to last month allows the county to pass on building the animal crossings and the fence as long as it pays DNR $33,000 while also substituting the taller fence with a standard SCDOT right of way fence which could still keep the bears from crossing the road.

The International Drive project is scheduled to cost $15.5 million to complete, however that number has not been adjusted to reflect the new changes.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.