MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's construction season and the City of Myrtle Beach is pushing to get projects done while tourists aren't in town. One of those projects, the Ocean Boulevard Streetscape project, is shutting down a portion of the popular road.
The closure on Ocean Blvd. is between Eighth and Ninth Avenues North, near the Old Pavilion site.
According to the city, the closure is needed to remove existing sidewalks and pavement and install new utilities and infrastructure in that area.
"Put in new water and sewer lines, new storm water drainage, underground utilities, new sidewalks, new landscaping, new lighting," City Spokesperson Mark Kruea said, "It really is a complete facelift for Ocean Boulevard."
The other 53 blocks in the hotel district have already seen the same improvements.
The roadwork extends to Sixth Ave. North, right near Art Burger Sushi Bar, and the restaurant is noticing an impact.
"I really wish it wasn't happening because I feel like we'd be a lot busier," employee Jacob Rabon said. "I can't wait until January when this is all over."
The one-block road closure went into effect Thursday, and will end January 5, 2016.
In the meantime, locals are figuring out how to make the detour work.
"We've come to realize we have to use a different pattern to get where we're going," Robin Reynolds said. "First few times, was pretty difficult but now we figured it out."
For visitors, it's a different story. Rabon said because they don't know the back roads, they are bypassing Art Burger, to go to more convenient places.
"There really are two seasons, there's visitor's season and then there's construction season," he said. "We try to do these major projects between Labor Day and Easter so we are inconveniencing as few people as possible."
Both Rabon and Reynolds agree, when the work is done, it will be worth it.
The $10 million project is in the second of three phases. The third phase will kick off next winter with the movement of overhead utility lines between Second and Ninth Avenues North. The contractor will also do final paving.
The entire project is set to be completed in Spring 2017, according to the city.
Deepwater Ocean Outfall
The city is also keeping busy with another project, just a few blocks away from the Streetscape: the Deepwater Ocean Outfall project.
The Ocean Outfall project has become an eyesore at 4th Avenue North, and is about two weeks past its expected completion date.
City Spokesperson Mark Kruea said, the delay is for two reasons: One, the streak of terrible weather and two, a piece of equipment being used was damaging some of the pipes, and needed to be switched out.
Crews were working at the site Thursday.
Despite the project being a bit alarming to the eye, Kruea says, since it's offshore, and during the off-season, it should have little impact to the community.
Locals agree, the benefit of the project outweighs any visual distraction.
"I'm pleased to see that it's going to improve the drainage for all the frontage roads," local Gary Laser said. "It's a win-win for Myrtle Beach; they haven't hurt the beaches at all and the beach is what keeps people coming back."
Plus, the project adds beauty to the beach. It took nine pipes off the sand, instead, placing them under water. This way, the rain water can travel under the sand and into the ocean, which will help alleviate flooding.
This is the fourth deepwater ocean outfall project in Myrtle Beach, achieving a 20-year goal for the city.
The city anticipates this project will be done mid-February, well before the bulk of tourists head into town.