CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) – Weather delayed the northbound lanes on Highway 501 from opening today, but the project is still ahead of schedule.
As SCDOT official Anna Levy explained, the department was hoping to have the lanes ready to go by Friday. However, 3.5 inches of rain saturated the construction site on Thursday.
"With all the loose dirt there, and no grass for it to stick to, the shoulders are completely washed out," said Levy.
Crews were unable to put paint down to mark the roadways. Levy said it came down to safety; drivers may not know where the road ended without the paint markings and could end up in the washed-out shoulders.
The extra lane will not open until Monday at the earliest. While crews are out working to tie up all those loose ends on Friday, you will not see them working throughout the weekend.
Levy explained that is because too many people will be on the road this weekend. Since the whole point of opening the extra lane is to relieve traffic congestion, the SCDOT doesn't want to add a lane closure on top of all the biker and tourist traffic traveling through this weekend.
Crews are still ahead of schedule, but want to make sure it gets done right.
Since there are lane closure restrictions in Horry County during the summer months, Levy explained most of the work after Memorial Day will be done behind the shoulder line.
Crews still need to lay down permanent paint, put in rumble strips, install signs, and add concrete islands. This may require nighttime closures after Memorial Day.
Overall, Levy believes the project should wrap up by June.