MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach is trying to make one of its busiest roads safer for drivers by replacing emergency signal lights with a traffic light in one spot on Kings Highway.
"It's a tough intersection, especially if you're trying to turn left out of Pinewood, to get - especially with the traffic in the summer, so many people here," explained Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace. "We've looked at this one time before, but the folks in the neighborhood didn't really want to do it. But now, as traffic has gotten that much busier with all the added tourists and people staying here that the time has come to do something with it."
On top of traffic lines on Pinewood Road during the busy times of day, Wallace said the yellow flashing light on Kings Highway is confusing to people who don't live in the area of 52nd Avenue North.
Drivers slow down or stop, unsure of how to proceed through the light instead of coasting past.
The light structures that are there will stay there, and the fixtures that are blinking will be switched out to normal stoplights.
Across from Pinewood Road is Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue Station Two. Fire engines can't afford to deal with hold-ups when they respond to emergency calls.
Plus, turning south from Pinewood Road is tough enough on drivers. But pulling north, Wallace says, is very difficult. People take close chances crossing the intersection to turn.
"They get stuck in the middle of the road with the tail end or the front end of the car out in the highway," Wallace said. "And then when the firetrucks here have to get out. Then it becomes a problem with a caution light so they can get out. And then you know, that yellow light is always flashing. And that'll cause people who aren't familiar with the area to slow down or stop in the middle of traffic. So it just, I think, all the way around is just going to be a much safer intersection with the light."
City spokesperson Mark Kruea said the city will submit its plans to SC DOT, wait for approval, then activate the lights. The whole process should take about 60 days.