City spending $400k to beautify and make under the Backgate Over - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

City spending $400k to beautify and make under the Backgate Overpass safer

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Many drivers have seen construction crews busy working at the Backgate interchange by Farrow Parkway and Highway 707.

The City of Myrtle Beach is in the middle of an overhaul under the overpass. 

The beautification project is a lot more than just landscaping and flowers, as workers are building pergolas on either side of the interchange, brand new sidewalks for people to get from one side to the other and new street lamps to that will display pedestrian crossing signage. 

Many people wouldn't dream of crossing the interchange in anything other than a vehicle because it isn't set up safely for that just yet. 

But leaders with the City of Myrtle Beach said it will be safe for pedestrians, cyclists and people on motorized scooters once the project is complete.
In the midst of project construction, locals said they don't understand the point,because the pedestrian crossings might make an already bustling interchange confusing and distracting for drivers.

"I mean, I think it's going to look real nice," said Lou Mascherino with Veterans Cafe. "But what I'm worried about is the distraction of the motorists going around there. That's a pretty tough intersection as it is. Giving them something else to look at... I don't know."

The project is costing the city $400,000- a price the city says is well worth it to make what's underneath the bridge look as good as the $120 million bridge itself.
So workers are planting flowers, installing irrigation, landscaping and finishing the pergolas in addition to the sidewalks and street lamps.

Other people said they understand the concept, but think the city could have saved money. 

"Pergula... I think is a ridiculous place to put it," according to Penne Merola, who lives in the Market Common. "Though it would look pretty, I think they could do as much bushes and shrubs and flowers... the sidewalk."

The city said the beautification project is expected to be finished around mid-to-late October.

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