S.C. 544 set to be repaved as part of SCDOT’s 10-year plan

SCDOT Pavement Improvement Plan

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is in the process of repairing the state’s highway system after three decades of neglect.

It’s all part of the department’s 10- year plan.

The 2020 Pavement Improvement program consists of more than 560 miles of pavement improvements across the state, all thanks to the Roads Bill that went into effect in July 2017.

SCDOT has allocated over $91 million to Dillon, Florence and Horry counties for 220 miles in paving projects. Plans also call for three Rural Road Safety Projects, which are roads officials have deemed “the worst roads as far as fatalities,” said Robert Kudelka with SCDOT.

One of those rural road safety projects is now complete on Highway 9 near Loris. The next two projects on the list will be on highways 90 and 701. Plans include widening paint strips, rumble strips, guard rail improvements and widening shoulders. Officials say the overall goal of the pavement program is to improve the quality of South Carolina’s roads by up to 3 percent per year.

In Horry County, a major road many people are anxious to see repaved is S.C. 544.

Since the road is a gateway to the beach and is surrounded by Coastal Carolina University, businesses and homes, S.C. 544 sees a lot of traffic. People who travel on it daily said conditions have deteriorated over the years.

Timothy Wayman works right off of S.C. 544 and is attending CCU in the fall. He’ll be using the road far more often in the coming months and said this is a long-awaited project he’s looking forward to.

“I’ve almost gotten hit a couple times because people will see that hole or see something on the road and they come to my lane a little bit, so I’ll have to go to the median. The road condition, I don’t remember the last time this road got paved or got repaved I should say, so there are a lot of potholes and little bumps in the road that could be leveled out. So, I do like how they’re spending more money on the roads because it is a vital part of our daily lives,” said Wayman.

Anna Barnhill, a resident construction engineer, said work on the nearly three-mile stretch off of S.C. 544 from Jackson Bluff Road to Gravelly Gully Drive is set to begin after Labor Day. Work will be done overnight.

Andrew Rayborn works right off S.C. 544 and said every year the roads get busier and more dangerous. He added he’s looking forward to something finally being done to make the roads safer.

“I think it’s absolutely beneficial. I mean not only that, they definitely need to improve these roads. There’s potholes everywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to go to the shop because of the bad tires," said Rayborn.

The expected completion date for the S.C. 544 resurfacing project is the end of May 2020.

SCDOT officials said paving funds will increase about 15 percent each year as the gas tax is phased in. The department is accepting public feedback on the proposed plan through July 27.

To explore the interactive map of the project and give the department feedback, click here.

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