Big road projects looking at an earlier start date

Big road projects looking at an earlier start date

HORRY COUNTY, (WMBF) – Major road projects could be starting sooner that originally planned, if a new initiative goes through.

Big projects that are part of Ride III could be starting months earlier if Horry County Council can pass an ordinance to shift funds.

"501 is in absolute desperate need of something better," General Manager of the Myrtle Beach Speedway, Steve Zacharias, said.

Horry County's administration committee looked at the potential ordinance shifting funds from the Ride II projects to Ride III Tuesday. Those excess fund total an estimated $40 million.

The idea is to get a head start on big projects like widening Highway 501, a roadway Steve Zacharias knew would become an issue the moment he first drove it. "I remember coming in the very first time, and just being log jammed and not knowing exactly how much farther I've had."

Zacharias said, "On a Saturday night race, a local guy who doesn't come in to spend the weekend, and he plans on getting here and he plans it out with what Siri may be telling him or navigation is saying he's going to get here in. Well he doesn't play in the 501 traffic, and he misses the two rounds of practice and in a racer's mind that's huge."

With how much the speedway is growing, Zacharias says staff members make it a point to tell visitors to plan for this traffic as best they can.

While we all approved a one percent sales tax to go towards Ride III in November, Horry County Spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says the county won't see that money until the fall. Which is why the left over money from Ride II, she says would be put back, could help kick start the projects until the money comes in.

Other projects on Ride III include widening 701, Carolina Forest Boulevard and extended SC Highway 31 to the state line.

As for Zacharias and 501, he says the sooner, the better.

"It's frustrating, you can't get five miles down the road and it really makes it for not wanting to go out of the house because you know you're going to have to deal with it. And me personally I get very frustrated very quickly and being an ex-racecar driver it's not a good place I need to be," he said.

Now Horry County Council needs to approve three readings for this potential ordinance and Bourcier says looking at the meetings, the soonest that decision could come, is February.