Horry County hosts Bikefest meetings one month before event

Horry County hosts Bikefest meetings one month before event

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Bikefest taskforce met for the last time on Tuesday before the Memorial Day Weekend event.

Final plans are now in place and officials said they believe this year will also be a success.

"There has been a lot planning and, obviously, we did so much of it last year (that) this year has been about tweaking things," said Randy Webster, director of Horry County Emergency Management."

Webster said after last year, the county decided to make improvements on how crews respond to service calls pertaining to Bikefest and non-related emergency situations.

"We look at how we are getting emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks and officers in and out of the loop in certain areas," Webster said. "We changed that up a little bit to make it more conducive with the traffic flow for them."

The county is also strengthening the communication between the local command post in Myrtle Beach and the emergency operations center in Conway.

"We want to make sure we are getting that information flow, because we handle a lot of issues there over the entire event, not just one particular jurisdiction," Webster said.

The EOC will open Thursday, May 26, at 3 p.m., and will operate until Sunday, May 29, at 3 a.m. The 23-mile traffic loop will be effective starting Friday, May 27, at 10 p.m., and run until 2 a.m., each night.

Webster said there have been no changes to the number of officers on duty for the entire weekend, which will include law enforcement from the State Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Also on Tuesday, a Bikefest Community Meeting was scheduled to take place at Benjamin's Calabash Seafood in Restaurant Row, but it was not the turnout city and county officials were expecting.

In fact, no residents attended the meeting. Officials said the meeting was scheduled for 9 a.m.; they waited for half an hour and then left when no one showed up.

Webster said the meetings are for community members and businesses to ask questions or voice concerns about the upcoming Bikefest, and to make sure they are comfortable.

Myrtle Beach police and Horry County emergency officials were prepared to talk about parking, safety, how the traffic loop with affect motorists and where the Horry County Police Department will place extra officers in order to keep residents safe.

Webster expressed disappointment that no one attended, but looked at it as validation that everyone is satisfied and trusting that local emergency officials are going to do their best to make it a safe holiday weekend for everyone involved.

"That's the way I'll choose to look at it," he said.

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