Surfside Beach residents live with off-season construction

Surfside Beach residents live with off-season construction
(Source: Lisa Gresci)
(Source: Lisa Gresci)

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Construction crews are working hard in Surfside Beach to complete one of two major road projects. For people living in Surfside Beach, orange signs and cones have become the new normal.

"Everywhere you go!," Beth Wester said. On Surfside Drive, even getting the daily mail can be a struggle. Beth Wester has lived on the road for years, and because it's recently been closed, neighbors were worried they wouldn't be getting any mail.

"Well, it's been unnerving to say the least. They just say it's a mess, that's all anybody ever says. And anybody who comes by says, 'oh I've seen that,'' Wester explained.

The mess is the construction efforts to widen the road, fix drainage issues, and to add sidewalks and curbs. An around $416,000 effort Mayor Doug Samples feels is necessary.

"Let's face it, Highway 17 to Ocean Boulevard, that's our main street, it's just a continuation of the beautification and the improvements that we've been planning for some time," Samples explained.

The good news, the project is set to be done by Mid-March. However, the other project in town to bring the power lines underground, will take decades.

"Ocean Boulevard, from one end to Ocean Boulevard, to the other end of Ocean Boulevard, which is two miles... and we're doing it at about six blocks at a time,  so it's many, many years," Samples said.

Samples said the more than one million dollar project with Santee Cooper is being completed in increments. Right now, the fourth phase stretches from 3rd Avenue South to 9th Avenue South. Samples said each stretch takes about two years, and crews halt construction through the tourism seasons.

Residents like Beth Wester understand the construction will be worth it in the long run, and she appreciates the breaks.

"It's better to do it now than in the summer time because we're in the house," Wester said.

While some fear Surfside Drive is being ripped up now only to be ripped up again for the power line project, Mayor Samples said that road will not be seeing any more construction for at least a decade.

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