Myrtle Beach says 40-mile loop is best option for Bikefest

Source: Google Earth
Source: Google Earth

Myrtle Beach, SC (WMBF) - While some say it's way too big and others say it leaves no room for error, Myrtle Beach is moving forward with its proposed bike week traffic loop.

The loop spans nearly 40 miles and crosses into places outside the city like Socastee, Carolina Forest, and North Myrtle Beach.

The plan is raising a lot of eyebrows, but Myrtle Beach City Manager Tom Leath says it's really nothing new.

"Part of it is already the route that most attendees use, part of Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard," said Leath.

While the city believes the loop could solve its traffic problems, other cities are now speaking up.

"We certainly would not divert our traffic into another city and we don't expect another city to divert their traffic onto us," said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. "We all have our own traffic issues already."

"Traffic runs both ways from North Myrtle Beach. If they're talking about traffic going north, we can talk about the traffic coming south," Leath responded.

Leath says funneling the traffic towards North Myrtle Beach was never the intention. The city needed to end the gridlock on Ocean Boulevard, and it believes this traffic loop is the best way to do that.

Traffic may pass through other cities, but Myrtle Beach believes the loop should funnel bikers right back into town.

"We're not trying to pass anything to their woes," said Leath. "If the traffic comes off of [Highway] 22 and comes back into Myrtle Beach, it's not gonna get anywhere near North Myrtle Beach."

City Leaders say this plan still needs a lot of work. Soon, Myrtle Beach will hear from County Council about a smaller traffic loop and decide if plans need to change.

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