Planners hope ‘reverse frontage road’ will ease traffic on Hwy. 501

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Traffic on U.S. 501 is always a problem, but it's one officials are working to fix.

The extension of Middle Ridge Avenue, located on the southbound side of U.S. 501, could help people run errands along the highway without ever having to get on it in some cases. The extension is part of a RIDE III project.

"That means 10,000 less cars a day have to travel on 501, which is a benefit to everybody," said David Schwerd, deputy director of Horry County Planning and Zoning.

Schwerd said that's the kind of impact extensions like Middle Ridge Avenue and Postal Way could have on the area.

"It's similar to the existing Postal Way, where it provides the same access back and forth but it provides separation from the actual road so you don't have issues with congestion," he said.

This extension will run behind some of the businesses and developments located along U.S. 501, making it a reverse frontage road.

"We already had businesses there," said Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught, "We would've had to buy out businesses and move businesses to put a frontage road between 501, the six lane version of 501, and the businesses."

Daniel Reitmeyer, a nearby resident, said he likes the idea and thinks it will help the area.

"Anything to alleviate the traffic backup on 501 would be a great asset," he said, "(It will) definitely relieve a lot of the problems."

Vaught said all of the RIDE III projects are still in the design phases right now, but once that's complete, they'll be able to start the permitting and right-of-way process.

The design phase is expected to be complete sometime in 2019.

Click here for a look at the route the extension would take.

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