HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Some drivers say construction that will eventually shorten drive times is only creating headaches right now. Neighbors are concerned the Highway 31 project is affecting the safety of their community.
Crews are making way for a new bridge on Enterprise Road, which means a portion of the road will close starting in August. This is part of the highly-anticipated extension of Highway 31, which, in three years, will connect Highway 9 to Highway 707. Enterprise Road sits between 707 and Bay Road; both roads will be detour routes to get around the construction.
"For me to go around to get to the other side of Enterprise, it would take me at a minimum of 20 minutes to get there, which normally takes me five," says resident Paul DiStefano.
Those who live on side roads, like Fallen Timber Drive, are also concerned with safety. Neighbors say this road will become a major thoroughfare to get to Bay Road. They're worried people will speed down the 15-mile-per-hour road.
Neighbors aren't the only ones concerned. local businesses like the Waccatee Zoo are as well. They're worried people won't get to the attraction.
"Any blockage of any road with the way the traffic is during the summer and all the signs that tell you to detour and not use 707 - it's gonna hurt, and we're a small business, you know, we rely on those people to come," says Jeff Futrell, owner of the zoo.
Drivers will have access to Enterprise Road from Bay Road, but will not be able to drive straight across Enterprise to where it connects with Highway 707. That means it's going to take longer to get to many of the roads where attractions like the zoo and the horse stables are located.
"With the detour it's gonna add at least a half hour to their trip each way, so they're thinking about moving their horses to another stable, so they're gonna lose business, and then there's the marina there too," says DiStefano.
Waccatee Zoo owners are concerned the long-term closure will cause them to completely shut down. SCDOT says at no point will homes or businesses be completely closed off.
While neighbors are hoping to see a solution to the nine-month closure on Enterprise Road, like an access road around the construction, Horry County officials say, that's just not in the plans.