Restaurant sees fewer customers due to 17 Bypass barricades

Restaurant sees fewer customers due to 17 Bypass barricades

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The hundreds of orange barricades that have been up for a week to stop drivers from lefts to and from Shetland Lane and 17 Bypass are blocking business for Joe's Diner by the Airport.

"It's terrible to look over here at the restaurant and see five cars because normally we're busy and it's a shame," said Joseph Miller, the diner's owner.

Miller said business has declined 40 percent in the past week.

"What we've lost in that 40 percent is all the local workers that were looking for that quick, 15 minute meal, in and out and they can get right back to work," he said.

Miller and his wife approached Myrtle Beach City Council Tuesday to get answers about the future of the barricades and find out if a traffic light could be a potential solution.

"I don't know how much it costs, but we'd be willing to pay for it," Miller said. "It's either that or close the business and we don't want to do that either."

Myrtle Beach put in an emergency request for the barricades to SCDOT last week before closing Fred Nash Boulevard.

During drop off and pick up hours, SCDOT doesn't allow Palmetto Academy families to use Shetland Lane due to safety concerns, directing them to Fred Nash instead.

WMBF News has reported three fatal car accidents at Shetland Lane and 17 Bypass this year.

"There have been several fatalities in recent months, ones that we've had members of our school faculty witness and try to provide care for, so definitely some very serious accidents there," said Amber Rogers, a founder of Palmetto Academy.

While Fred Nash is inaccessible, the city of Myrtle Beach decided to completely close the median cut to force Palmetto Academy families to make U-turns instead of risking an accident by crossing 17 Bypass.

In Tuesday's city council meeting, City Manager John Pedersen said the barricades are part of a temporary safety agreement with SCDOT, but it will still be up to SCDOT to decide when and if those barricades are removed.

Rogers said she's also in favor of a traffic light to make the intersection safer for the school's students, while also helping the local businesses.

"We don't want to see the restaurant close for any reason," she said. "We just want to see the city come up with a traffic pattern that's going to allow them to still have their customers come and go, but come and go safely."

Myrtle Beach did get permission from SCDOT several years ago to do a study for a traffic light at the intersection when the city was considering putting in a marina near the area, but that was never fully completed, said Mark Kruea, spokesperson for the city of Myrtle Beach.

During Tuesday's meeting Councilman Wayne Gray told Miller the city could bring up the issue with SCDOT again.

SCDOT hasn't responded to request for information about the future of the barricades.

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