HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Plans are in the works to develop a new roadway that would give residents and vacationers an alternative route other than U.S. 501 near Lake Busbee.
For the last decade U.S. 501 has become a traffic concern for vacationers, residents and drivers who use the road for their daily commutes.
The plan is to build a bypass connecting U.S. 701 to S.C. 544 that could help alleviate the daily gridlocks.
“You know this is a catastrophe waiting to happen if we had lost that 501 Bypass by the causeway we would’ve been in big trouble,” said Horry County councilman Johnny Vaught.
Vaught, along with numerous statewide leaders, are leading the charge of the proposed Lake Busbee Bypass, an estimated four-mile stretch of road opening a new route to the southwestern side of Horry County.
“There will be signs out around the perimeter that says take a right to all south end beaches, before they know it they’ll be on S.C. 544, jump on Highway 31 and go wherever they want to go,” said Vaught.
Longtime Conway resident, Jimmy Jordan, has also jumped on board with the $150 million project, along with Coastal Carolina University President David DeCenzo and the Conway Chamber of Commerce.
“Highway 501 for whatever reason has always been the orphan of Horry County, it’s never had the money spent on it that is needed but always carries the traffic,” said Jordan.
The route would cut through the old Santee Cooper Power Plant behind Lake Busbee, avoiding most residential areas and gives drivers an alternative route to and from work.
With the funding from Ride III already locked in place, they money for the project will have to come from the state and federal level rather than waiting another decade for Ride IV funds.
“It’s not like I- 73. This is something we need right now because if we lose that causeway by Lake Busbee during another flood it’s over,” said Vaught.
Plans are still in the very early stages and aren’t expected to officially be proposed for several months.
Vaught believes if approved, the project would take about two years to complete and wouldn’t involve shutting down any major roadways.