Road construction to impact traffic at the backgate

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As our area continues to grow, so do road construction projects. Construction crews began to change the current traffic pattern along Old Socastee Highway, which cuts from Highway 17 Bypass to Farrow Parkway.

Previously, Emory Road and Old Socastee Highway join around its bend, but in three days, this will change.

"What we're doing is we're making Old Socastee a dead end, with that cul-de-sac and trying to make a smoother transition for that frontage road," says Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.

The road work will eliminate the stop sign on Old Railroad Bed Road at Old Socastee Highway.

This will not impact the popular shortcut many drivers use to get between the Market Common and Highway 17 Bypass. The four way stop sign at the Fred Nash and Emory Road intersection will remain.

This is part of the Backgate construction project.

The goal is to alleviate traffic on the Bypass and also make the area safer for drivers.

Horry County officials say rebuilding roads means improving areas around them, "I think it is picking up. You're starting to see the charter schools develop along that frontage road, and you may see a little bit of redevelopment along that frontage road system as well."

This construction is part of the Highway 17 Bypass and Highway 707 Interchange Project which is part of the Riding on a Penny Sales Tax; it adds up to over $100 million.

Another future construction project that may change the congestion on the Bypass for the better is the extension of Harrelson Boulevard.

"There are future plans to continue that frontage road onto Harrelson, and people could actually go from the Market Common to the mall, without ever having to get on 17 Bypass," says Bourcier.

Horry County officials have not yet set a date for the project but say it's in plans for the near future.

Joe Miller owns Joe's Diner by the Airport, which sits on the frontage road alongside Highway 17 bypass. He says, "People don't come because it's so hard to get across the road. There's no doubt it will help business."

He believes an extension of Harrelson Boulevard means more people will take Fred Nash Boulevard and pass his diner, which is great for business.

"They never even use Fred Nash Boulevard because its so hard to get across the road, nobody takes it, but they'll take it from Market Common to go north on the Bypass," says Miller.

An extension of the road may impact traffic on the bypass; less cars will be on the Bypass if more use Frontage Road. All around, a win-win for drivers and local businesses.

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