MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach is constantly looking for ways to beautify downtown and make it more efficient, and this week work will pick up again on putting utility lines underground.
As tourists leave town, construction crews roll in. The underground utility work along Ocean Boulevard is part of a three-year project to improve the safety and appearance of downtown Myrtle Beach.
City spokesman Mark Kruea says 53 blocks have been completed and there are seven left. Crews are digging up the road, moving all the utilities underground, and then updating the road, sidewalks, and landscaping.
This week, crews will start blocking lanes of traffic between 2nd Avenue North and 9th Avenue North along Ocean Boulevard. The actual utility work is going to happen between 5th and 9th Avenues. Those seven blocks will be down to one lane throughout the winter, according to Kruea.
Hiding utility lines underground protects them so the city is less likely to lose power in an emergency. And it also improves the overall look of the downtown area.
"We're putting lines underground, but we're also doing a facelift for the street as well," says Kruea. "So while we're digging up the road, we're putting in new water and sewer lines, putting in conduit in the underground utilities. We're putting in new pavement, new sidewalks, new lighting, new landscaping. So it's a complete makeover."
The final phase of this construction will not start until next year.
The original plan was to start this same type of work on Seaboard Street next. But according to city leaders, there is no funding for that and has been pushed back indefinitely.