New options on the table for Memorial Day traffic loop

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There are now three options on the table for controlling traffic during Bikefest and Memorial Day weekend following Wednesday's Coastal Alliance meeting.

Now, the challenge for Grand Strand leaders is to figure out which one is best for everyone.

It was clear leaders from all Grand Strand communities agree there should be some sort of traffic loop to help cars and motorcycles flow with traffic on Memorial Day weekend. It is also clear that local mayors and the County Chair haven't agreed on the best way to do that just yet.

The options
One option is a 40-mile loop proposed by the city of Myrtle Beach, which takes traffic down the Boulevard out to Highway 544, up to Highway 31 and out to Highway 22. There, traffic can head back south to Myrtle Beach.

North Myrtle Beach worries that plan funnels traffic north where there's already crowded roadways. At the same time, Surfside Beach Mayor is concerned about bringing heavy traffic to the south end.

County Chair Mark Lazarus put a new option on the table for discussion:
Send traffic south on the Boulevard, back up 17 Business on to Harrelson Boulevard by the airport.

The plan allows for two options. The Coastal Alliance can either funnel the traffic across 17 Bypass eventually getting cars and motorcycles onto a frontage road to Highway 31, then onto Highway 22 or allow people to choose to go a variety of ways once Harrelson Boulevard meets the 17 Bypass.

Lazarus says state highway patrol is more in favor of the shorter loop options because it cuts down on the amount of traffic on Highway 31.

"How do you manage the traffic because there's no stops, there's no stop lights, no turn offs with limited access, so it becomes a drag strip," added Lazarus. "If you will, any incidences that happen out there of cars and motorcycles doing 70 mph - they are a lot more severe than they are if they are inside the city limits or down a side road."

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