HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Construction is starting on the site of the new fire station along S.C. 544, which will replace the fire station next to Horry Georgetown Technical College and speed up service for people in the area.
"We've got a lot quicker response time now, especially for those people further out there," said Johnny Vaught, Horry County councilman for District 8. "We didn't lose any response time for anybody just by moving it down Singleton Ridge Road."
So far, rocks have been laid to help heavy equipment get in and out as the long-awaited fire station starts popping up.
"We're going to see some things happening here in a hurry now," Vaught said.
Construction was supposed to begin in November on the fire station along S.C. 544 near Singleton Ridge Road, but was delayed because of a change in the project's budget. It finally started Monday.
Vaught hopes time can be made up if the weather remains decent. He expects construction to take eight to 10 months, depending on the weather.
The bids for the new fire station, which has been part of the capital improvement plan for the last five years, came $400,000 over the $1.1 million budget. That increase was due to a jump in construction costs since the project was originally budgeted.
Vaught said the bids all came in around the same amount, and the necessary funds have been secured without costing taxpayers extra money.
According to Vaught, a new fire station in Aynor was supposed to be built. Instead, changes were made to the existing facility
The money that was left over from that was able to be transferred over to the S.C. 544 fire station.
"We had the money in contingency or whatever we needed to do, but still it's better to be able to do something like that without having to do a budget amendment," Vaught said.
Despite the increased budget, the new station will save area taxpayers money when it comes to their insurance premiums.
"Some of their premiums will go from $1,400 down to maybe $400 to $600," Vaught said. "That's a big hit."
Vaught added those savings will apply to people who don't live within five miles driving distance from the current station, but will once it is built.
"We're not losing any coverage on anybody," Vaught said. "That was one of the balance points that we had to do to make sure when we located this we didn't lose anybody and instead we just gained people."
Vaught said people living around S.C. 544 have savings and safety to look forward to once the new station is built.
"It's going to benefit that pocket of people who were left out of the coverage and it's going to benefit them a whole bunch," he said.
Vaught said the current building for the university station will go to HGTC, which will also get the facility's home street of Victory Lane.