Plans for road construction riding along for the Ride III Committee

Plans for road construction riding along for the Ride III Committee

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - All of us have our own pet peeves when we drive local roads, things we want to see fixed or even completely changed.  It's our right, we pay for those roads, even a little extra if you include the Ride III penny sales tax.

Although we're dying to see which roads will be added to the Ride III project list, not so fast, Thursday's committee meeting is just about education.

Ride III Chairman, Eddie Dyer says, the more information the committee has, the better job they're going to do picking the right projects.

The Ride III Committee meeting will bring in the experts, Horry County Planners, SCDOT and the Waccamaw Regional Council of Government. These players will tell the committee where they think road construction will benefit you the most. Of course, county growth areas are always a top priority.

From this feedback, the Ride III subcommittee will take away the best ideas.

In future meetings, each committee member will suggest the three projects they would like to see for a total of 51 projects. From there, the decision to add or take away projects, will be all based around the expected $550 million the county will collect, if the penny sales tax is approved. The goal is to create a balance across the county.

“We can't spend the money all in one particular corner of the county,” said Ride III Committee Chairman Eddie Dyer. “ Everyone in the county needs one thing or another they either need their dirt roads paved or they need new roads to move traffic around.”

One of the big pushes for the City of Myrtle Beach is something drivers either love or hate, roundabouts. Engineers want to put several in the area similar to the one you see on Coastal Carolina University's campus, only larger, to accommodate even more traffic.

The driving force behind roundabouts is safety. They improve traffic flow at intersections and they force drivers to take it slow.

The statistics really do back the claim. Roundabouts cut down on your chance of getting in an accident by 35%, fatal crashes can be reduced by more than 90%, according to Federal Highway Administration.

The city would like to start by building one at a place engineers say there have been fatal accidents before, the intersection of Grissom Parkway and 17th Avenue South, near the Coastal Grande Mall.

City engineers have the concept down and are working on design plans.  In order for this to happen, SCDOT would have to agree, and pitch in - they pay half, the city pays half.

If the city could gets a roundabout installed here, it plans on building several more throughout the area.

“We definitely need roundabouts, especially when there's construction going on people going to work, coming home, people in a hurry, that way well hopefully prevent accidents and maybe even save lives,” said local driver Linda Hillman.

This idea is nothing new.  City planners have been talking about roundabouts for years, but they are expensive.  The city is banking on the Ride III Penny Sales Tax, to help put the first roundabout in place.

City Engineer Patrick Sadek told me the city has submitted plans for one roundabout as a potential Ride III project, in hopes it could be funded by this program.

Things are certainly riding along for the Ride III Committee.

While no projects have yet to be decided on, Dyer says, there has been talk, talk of paving dirt roads in the western part of the county, and adding more lanes to roads like Forestbrook and Carolina Forest Boulevard. Some people have even mentioned connecting Carolina Bays Parkway to I-73. Right now though, talk is just talk, this does not mean these projects will be added to the list, or even proposed.

The Ride III committee meeting is Thursday night at 5:00 p.m. and it's all about education. Dyer says the November meeting will be to discuss their method in choosing roads. It will be the meetings after that, where the committee will discuss the projects they bring to the table. It won't be about another year that we would vote on any projects.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.