WMBF Investigates: Highway 22 noise a concern after trees cut down for power line

WMBF Investigates: Highway 22 noise a concern after trees cut down for power line

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A WMBF News viewer who was tired of noise from Highway 22 reached out to the WMBF News Investigative team to get answers.

"I'm wondering what can be done to cut down on the noise," said Mary Causey. "We used to have trees, everywhere you're seeing lights there used to be trees, so we had a sound barrier."

South Carolina Department of Transportation crews were working overnight earlier this month near Fowler Road.

Causey wanted answers, so WMBF News found them. They just weren't the answers she was hoping to hear.

"All we hear is just noise all night, all day," Causey said. "In the last six months they've cut all the trees along the fence line that actually helped to block the noise we have had a problem with."

The trees came down for a power line. The power line belongs to Horry Electric Cooperative, but the company says the noise issue would need to be resolved by the SCDOT.

That's where the bad news comes for Causey; the state doesn't have the money to do a project like this one.

"If it's not DOT then it's Horry Electric - how can two big companies say it's not our problem, it's your problem?" Causey asked.

SCDOT says this would be a "Type II" project, meaning there isn't an active project underway at Highway 22 like a widening of the road, so there's no way to fund a noise study.

But that does mean, in the future, if SCDOT needs to make changes to the highway, a noise analysis would be required - something Causey could get on board with.

"If they did the study and knew what kind of sound was out here, they would understand that hey they need to do something," Causey said, adding, "Is not like it used to be where most locals just used it, now it's used by most people that are traveling, they take Highway 22…We're supposed to be able to live out here and not get bothered by anything. Now we hear the traffic all day, all night…As long as I live here I'm going to have to deal with that, and as long as I deal with it someone's going to have to deal with me."

WMBF News Investigators did ask SCDOT about the work being done near Causey's home. The agency said it was installing traffic counters on Highway 22 to collect data that would help it understand traffic patterns to avoid future congestion.

In the month of January, tens of thousands of cars went by the Causey's home, hitting a peak on Friday, January 13 - more than 11,000 cars that day alone. Traffic hit its high mark at more than 1,000 cars between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Causey said her biggest concern is the upcoming motorcycle events that she expects to bring loud noise through the night for days at a time.

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