MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Barricades staged throughout the city are a sign Memorial Day Weekend BikeFest is nearing.
“Over the past several weeks you’ve seen crews putting out cones, barricades, and other traffic control devices along the roadway," Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby said.
Police said it’s a massive undertaking involving agencies throughout the state to make sure traffic’s flowing as thousands of bikers and visitors descend on the Grand Strand for Atlantic Beach Bikefest.
“This year it’s a little different, where all the coordination for Memorial Day Bikefest is going to take place at a unified law enforcement command center. It will be basically all the law enforcement agencies, Horry County Fire Rescue will have a presence, EMS, things like that," said Thomas Bell, spokesperson for Horry County Emergency Management.
One thing that remains the same is traffic patterns will be implemented over the weekend to prevent gridlock and make way for first responders, which includes the 23-mile traffic loop.
“Our major goal is to create a safe environment for our citizens, the guests, the attendees and the public safety personnel that are going to be here. The traffic pattern known as the loop itself is to keep traffic flowing along Ocean Boulevard so there’s various patterns implemented for different objectives,” said Crosby.
There’s three major intersections that serve as entry points to the loop: US 17 Bypass and 29th Avenue North, 29th Avenue North and Kings Highway, and Harrelson Boulevard and Kings Highway. But, Crosby said it’ll only be in effect as needed.
“It’s only if traffic conditions warrant it. Last year we only operated the traffic pattern a little over four hours. So depending on the weather and traffic conditions, if it’s needed we’ll implement it. If not, it will not go into effect,” said Crosby.
And with the hottest weather we’ve seen all year expected for the weekend, officials said the heat is a concern.
“It is going to be very hot. It is going to be very humid. Folks aren’t used to that heat even if they’re living in South Carolina. So we’re just telling people stay hydrated, drink water even if you’re not thirsty," said Bell.
The traffic loop will go into effect Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. as needed.
To find out the best route to get around, Crosby says the city’s INFO line will operate 24 hours a day during the loop. He encourages if you have any questions to call that info line at 843-918-INFO.