Group petitions against widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Group petitions against widening of Carolina Forest Boulevard

Carole vanSickler Carole vanSickler

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - A Facebook group and a petition, have been created asking county leaders to remove the Carolina Forest Boulevard widening project from the RIDE III program.

The Facebook page, titled "Revamp the Ride III Program in Horry County," features a picture which reads, “Remove Carolina Forest Boulevard from Ride III.”

The page was made a week ago and has about 25 likes, the group is hoping to grab the attention of anyone who supports that stance, saying it's a waste of taxpayer money.

The organizer wants to remain anonymous but said the goal is to bring a different perspective when it comes to the widening project, a perspective that's hard for some to grasp.

"Carolina Forest desperately needs the infrastructure, we need the four lanes with the addition of stop lights, to break up the traffic,” Carolina Forest Civic Association President Carole vanSickler said.  “We’re hearing more people that want this project, that are pushing for this project."

Carole vanSickler said, as of now, drivers feel Carolina Forest Boulevard is a nightmare.

"Right away if there's an accident, or any kind of car breakdown,  you've lost one lane of traffic, and emergency vehicles can't come in for quick access,” she said.

“I remember times where it was bare but now with all the development going on, with two lanes there, it's very difficult to drive,” seven year resident Larry Leewilliamson said.

With growth in the area, including the building of new medical centers, homes and two schools, drivers are worried how the road will be years from now if the roadwork is not done.

"Probably more accidents,”Leewilliamson said. “I think we’ll see more of a problem than what we have now.”

The biggest concern for the Facebook page's creator is also safety.

In a Facebook message to WMBF News, the page creator said: “I feel that the biggest issue with widening CF Blvd to four lanes would be the safety of residents. We already have a problem pulling out with two lanes. I can't imagine what it will be like with four lanes. County Council said that they would put in traffic lights but they can't legally put in traffic lights at every community so those without a light will have a horrific time pulling out.”

She also said she believes RIDE III should be revamped because she feels that there are more options to explore.

vanSickler feels if leaders do in fact "Remove Carolina Forest Boulevard from Ride III," the community will vote it down.

“Carolina Forest has an already very low voter turn out.” the Facebook Page Creator told WMBF News. “I believe that the rest of the County would be most likely to vote yes for RIDE III if the widening project was removed.”

“If Carolina Forest Boulevard widening isn't added to Ride III, it could be years before it's considered again,” vanSickler said.  “As it is, if Carolina Forest Boulevard  is recognized as a priority project, shovels could not possibly be in the ground before either 2018 or 2019, even 2020.”

One thing all parties agree on is that the Carolina Forest area , one way or another, needs to be added to Ride III.

At the monthly Ride III meeting Tuesday this topic did come up.

Ride III Chairmain Eddie Dyer said the consensus from the committee is that people who live in Carolina Forest want this project to happen.

Dyer said the concerns of the petition creators are the same ones brought up for the widening of Highway 544, but Dyer said none of their fears have come to fruition.

He said as of now no projects have been removed from the Ride III recommended list.

At the meeting, the committee also discussed other projects, including requesting surplus money from Ride II from county council to help fund the extension of Highway 31 to the North Carolina State Line.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly