HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County leaders say the long awaited International Drive project is nearing its end. International Drive is now opened to four lanes between River Oaks Drive and Ocean Bay Elementary School and Ocean Bay Middle School.
Once fully opened, the nearly six mile long paved road will connect Highways 90 and 31. It's expected to make travel easier, quicker and safer for those who live in the area and decrease fire and police response times.
There has been some confusion about completion date. Horry County Spokesperson Kelly Moore said the substantial completion date is set for April 29th, meaning the roads are scheduled to be open for the public then.
Moore said as of now, there has not been any formal change to the contract, and the end date is still in early May. If there are weather delays, the completion date could be pushed back to June. She said it's a fluid situation, and they are still working to get a final date set in stone.
County officials also scheduled a 10K race on the road for April 29 to mark its grand opening, and they say the race will still go on whether or not the roads are open to traffic by this weekend.
"Well, I think the road improvements around the county is something that we're responding to the residents requests for more and better infrastructure around the county and this project is responsive to those requests," said Moore.
But now, residents and parents in the area are concerned about the increased traffic that will come along with the new road. Some saying there needs to be a traffic signal on the intersection of International Drive between Ocean Bay Elementary and Middle to help with school traffic and pedestrian safety.
Parents say with no traffic lights, the increased traffic from the new roads around the schools are unsafe.
Horry County engineer Andy Markunas said a traffic light is coming soon to this four-way intersection and it's always been in the plans to install.
He also said there will be another traffic light installed where International Drive ends around Highway 90. Markunas said they plan to install these lights sometime within the next month before the roads are fully open to the public.