Safety officials talk Bikefest, litter crack down, and hurricane preparedness

Safety officials talk Bikefest, litter crack down, and hurricane preparedness

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County officials went over what they've learned from the Memorial Day Bikefest and Hurricane Matthew during Tuesday's public safety committee meeting.

Randy Webster, the county's emergency management director, announced those who work around the clock to keep the area safe during major weather events will be heading to the Emergency Management Institute in Maryland come August.

There, they will participate in a training exercise simulating a real-life hurricane scenario and test how well the team works through its response.

"It will basically be a worst-case scenario hurricane, and all of the damages that can occur," Webster said. "And they will work through that to see how well we function together, even better than we did with Matthew."

Webster said the team will also break down its response to Hurricane Matthew to see if there is anything they would do differently or not.

Another goal for the county over the last several years is cutting down the instances of littering across the region.

To help in this fight, the county increased the budget to add crews to pick up litter off the roads and highways, increased patrols to allow officers to give more tickets and citations for littering, and sponsored community clean-up days.

Now, the plans are to work with the Solid Waste Authority to assess trucks coming in and out of the landfill. Drivers would be given a fee if their trucks are not covered correctly.

Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokesperson, said the county will also be cracking down on illegal dumping and urge residents to call police if they find an illegal dumping site. County council is expected to pass this resolution in April.

Another big talker of Tuesday's meeting was Bikefest. While local leaders see the traffic loop as a major success in many ways, what they can't deny are the issues it causes at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

"The last two years, during the time the loop was in effect and flights were coming in, people were having difficulty getting taxi service or getting out because the loop runs right by the airport," Webster said.

According to Webster, the task force is making it a priority this year to communicate with all of the taxi services in the area, and to create a partnership between airport officials and the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Webster said this could be anything from answering questions, to having officers assist in directing traffic in and out of the airport.

This plan is in its beginning stages, and Webster said they will continue to work with the Myrtle Beach Police Department and airport officials to find ways to make traveling easier during the holiday and Bikefest weekend.

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