Residents voicing concern over Hillside Drive drainage project

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A huge block of a North Myrtle Beach community is still shut down as crews work on a $5.5 million project to keep roads and homes from flooding.

With warmer weather bringing more people to the area, homeowners are voicing their concerns about the project to the city.

The city hopes the construction project will create a permanent solution to the drainage issue by Hillside Drive, but for right now, it's creating a temporary inconvenience for people living in the area.

"I've lived here 14 years, I've never seen the lake like this," says John McKeever, who says his lake is dwindling down to a lifeless puddle as the drainage project continues. "The fish are dying, the turtles are dying."

He lives just around the corner from this site - where contractors are working to prevent major flooding in the area.

"We were promised a new bulkhead…nothing is going on except when you're out on a golf cart and there's no way to go through Hillside," McKeever said.

With tourists trickling in, more golf carts are flooding the area

"Its' affecting that, affecting the tourists, it's affecting rentals," Cathy Ziegler said. "We have some vacation rentals - no one wants to rent there with this going on."

While Cathy Ziegler doesn't see tourists renting homes in the area, she does see tourists renting golf carts.

"I see a lot of tourists rent them, which is fine – I think they should be able to use them like the rest of us, but I'm if they're told the rules any laws."

One state law is no riding on Ocean Boulevard - a lesson John McKeever learned the hard way after being pulled over on his golf cart recently.

"I know I was wrong for being on Ocean Blvd, but there was no access any other way," he said.

The limited access from the drainage project is a huge roadblock for the people living in North Myrtle Beach that depend on their golf carts for transportation.

"We use this for trash pickup, we use it to go to Main Street, we use it for dining," McKeever said.

And this is the only way to Main Street without breaking the law by riding on the boulevard

"Hillside is the only street that goes all the way to Main Street," Ziegler explained.

"I do feel the city should have made an access for the people south of 6th Avenue," McKeever added. "This has been a detriment to a lot of people that use their golf carts."

It's also bothering people without golf carts. At the last city council meeting, homeowners expressed their concern over an influx of carts zooming through other neighborhoods as a result of Hillside Drive being closed down. At that meeting, city officials announced it could be another 45 days before construction wraps up and Hillside Drive reopens.

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