MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - When driving around town we all want to avoid the busiest spots, like the Backgate, and long tie ups along US-17. A project to help relieve some of that congestion is set to take a little longer.
WMBF News was recently told Coventry Boulevard would open mid-to-late January. Now, representatives with the city of Myrtle Beach are saying, there is not a timeline, but they expect the road to open in February.
You can blame the delays, according to the city, on the weather. For example, road markings were pushed back to this week because of last week's rainfall. Also, the extension of Coventry Boulevard to take you to The Market Common, was built by the developer, which means the opening date is their decision.
"I'm beginning to get inquiries from residents who are eager for the road to open," said City of Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea. "The extension of Coventry Boulevard was built by the developer, so we're still waiting for the final punch-list items to be complete."
The city is expecting a request from the developer for the city to accept the right-of-way. Kruea, said it's possible that the road could open without the city accepting the right-of-way, but he believes it is unlikely.
Once the road opens, it will alleviate congestion on Highway 17. Right now, nearly 45,000 drivers get onto the bypass, daily, between SC-544 near Target and SC-707 by the Backgate.
Some neighbors expressed concerns about extra traffic through their neighborhoods, but many local businesses are looking to what all these drivers can bring.
"The intersection right there is exactly where you'll see my store, and cars are gonna be coming in through here, so it should definitely make this area busier," said the owner of Commons Discount Liquors, Wesley Cook.
Tan Nguyen, owner of Posh Nails, agrees.
"Since this place is sort of hidden, so the main road will help a lot for the business," Nguyen said.
Business owners are also hoping this road will not just lead more customers through their doors, but more businesses to fill the empty storefronts in Coventry Crossing.
Once we will be able to drive on Coventry Boulevard, from 17 Bypass, the first thing you will see when you reach Farrow Parkway, is Coventry Crossing.
The owner of one of the stores said he thinks the cost of rent is what hinders many from setting up shop.
WMBF News reached out to the Real Estate Manager Moore Gandy. He said at the end of this year, approximately three prospective tenants will occupy space in the shopping center. This includes local company Best Golf Carts.
One of the existing tenants mentioned he heard Subway would be setting up shop, but Gandy could not confirm that information at this time.
Coventry Boulevard isn't the only roadwork taking place. One of the biggest road projects is the extension of Highway 31. With that work comes the overly anticipated closure of Enterprise Road.
County leaders have confirmed Enterprise Road won't close until the end of this year, or the beginning of 2016. When that happens, you'll have to use a detour.
"We've got to drive all the way around Bay Road and come back around 707 and come down in order to even get to the store," said neighbor Ray Helton. "It's ridiculous."
A main concern for Helton, and others who live near the construction, is the presence of more trucks, and traffic.
Businesses along Enterprise, like the Wacatee Zoo, have also expressed concerns about the impact of the closure on their survival, because, once Enterprise road is closed, it will remain so for at least nine months.
This is to build the bridge extending over Enterprise as part of the expansion of Highway 31.
Right now, about 25 percent of this project is complete, according to the county. The focus this year is checking off the major items, which is building the bridges.
The contractor is currently working on construction of the new bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, and constructing the embankments for the new roadbed between Enterprise Road and SC-707, according to Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier.
"This construction, it's gotten ridiculous, but you know, like I say, it's progress so it's gonna go on, regardless of what we say. We've just got to deal with it," said Helton.
County leaders say construction has been running smoothly, and on time. There's over two years left before Highway 31 will be complete.
These dates below are estimated time frames to complete some of the major items, according to the county:
Complete ICWW Bridge – end of 2016
Enterprise Rd Bridge – late 2015-mid 2016
2 Wetland Bridges – 2015
SC-707 Bridge – mid 2015 – mid 2016
Concrete Paving – Mid 2015 to late 2016
Asphalt Paving – 2016 to 2017