HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There could soon be a new big commercial area in Horry County where Highway 90 and Highway 22 meet in Conway, which has been identified as the next commercial hot spot. There are already a few businesses, but Horry County planners say they expect plenty more to come.
They've identified a lot of potential for growth surrounding Highway 90, and you can even tell when you notice there are several wide open spaces of land surrounding the highway in this area. Some of the roadways leading up to 90 are slated for commercial development, like Old Reaves Ferry to Dogwood road.
It will all come together at the Highway 90 and Highway 22 intersection, which planners call "the Economic Activity Center." That's an area the county designates as capable of developing into a very popular area, with more homes and enough businesses to support the entire region. And that would be all types of businesses, from restaurants and stores for you to eat and shop, to industrial warehouses that bring in jobs.
People who live and work off Highway 90 are already noticing more development now, and they can see more things developing really soon.
"I like it the way it is, but I know in the blink of an eye in five years I won't even be able to tell," said Michael Walsh, who works Jaw's Produce stand off of Highway 90. "You know the resemblance, it will be completely different."
Once it does, then all the development may lead to another road project. Planners say Highway 90's two lanes here aren't enough infrastructure to handle all that will happen off of this roadway in the coming years.
Horry County does have plans on the books to eventually widen Highway 90 to a four-lane roadway. This would be from Highway 22 in Conway all the way to the Main Street Connector in North Myrtle Beach, and we could even see an extension past Highway 501 where it stops now.
There are several signs showing this needs to happen: more housing subdivisions are popping up, the North Myrtle Beach sports park is bringing in people, and once work starts and finishes to pave International Drive more cars and trucks will have access to the highway. With the way it is now, Horry County Planners just don't think the roadway will be able to handle all that extra traffic, especially since Highway 90 has a big mix of cars, dump trucks, and construction trucks.
You will start to see work happening on International Drive around the beginning of next year and once it finishes, traffic could get really congested fast. The cost to widen Highway 90 is estimated to cost about $29 million. Since funds have yet to be put together for the project, it is also in the long term plan for the area.