Improvement project planned at US 17 and 76th Avenue - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Improvement project planned at US 17 and 76th Avenue

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is working on a road improvement project that many drivers in Myrtle Beach have been hoping for.

An SCDOT intersection improvement project is planned for the intersection of U.S. 17 and 76th Avenue North.

“Traffic is actually pretty decent until you come to this intersection up here,” says Judy Blumling, who lives off 76th Avenue North. “And if you’re trying to go south on 17, there’s people coming this way. And then car lining up this way in the middle. And it gets totally crazy! Nobody knows who’s to go when. And there’s a lot of accidents.”

Since 2009, DOT reports 43 traffic accidents happened at this intersection. Twenty-three of those resulted in injuries. Drivers say the problem is that traffic on the Bypass is going so fast, it makes it difficult to maneuver the intersection safely. And they expect that if something isn’t done soon, a fatal accident is a sad possibility.

Emily Toler with SCDOT says the solution is fairly simple and will help create a safer intersection, with the hope of preventing any more accidents. Toler says they plan to modify the geometry of the intersection.

According to the new plan, if you’re headed north on the Bypass, they will offset the right turn lane onto 76th Avenue North a little. This will help improve the visibility for anyone on 76th try to turn south onto 17. And for anyone making that turn onto 17 South, there will now be an acceleration lane for you to pick up speed safely before merging into traffic. The plans also include adding a deceleration lane on the Bypass so drivers can safely turn left onto 76th Avenue. And finally, crews will build concrete islands in the median to help direct traffic.

A representative with SCDOT says that based on the crew’s investigation, the intersection does not currently meet requirements for a traffic signal.  

In the meantime, some neighbors are taking a detour.

“Living here in this neighborhood,” says Blumling, “we tend to go down to 79th if we’re going south on 17. Because there’s a red light there. And that makes it much safer.”

Toler says SCDOT might need to purchase a little property from one owner in order to extend and add the acceleration lanes. Then, the hope is to have bids in by the fall of 2016. And then construction could start in either the winter or spring of 2017.

This project would be fully funded through the Federal Highway Safety Improvement program. 

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