Highway 9 to see significant changes in near future

Highway 9 to see significant changes in near future

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A major road is expected to be upgraded and widened to handle its daily drivers, but not everyone thinks the plans are ready for construction to begin.

The changes are expected on Highway 9, right in front of Loris Elementary School, this is all a part of the RIDE III project.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation said around 5,000 cars can be seen driving past Loris Elementary School every day, but it hasn’t always been this way.

“The way of life changes, it used to be all farming and everything and now farmings gone to the wayside and a lot of changes,” said Roger Floyd, who lives along Highway 9.

Floyd has lived in the same place off Highway 9 since 1951. He remembers being surrounded by fields instead of roads and now more changes are being proposed on Highway 9 from Cox Avenue to Highway 66.

“We’ll be taking this to a three-lane section with a lane in the middle so it’ll be a two-lane left turn lane. We’ll be making improvements for pedestrian’s safety with adding sidewalks. We’ll be adding a roundabout at the S.C. 66 intersection to improve safety," explained South Carolina Department of Transportation project director Stacey Johnson.

The area has seen several major traffic accidents over the last several years. State Representative Kevin Hardee hopes these changes that may be done will reduce the severity of future accidents.

“I think it, from what I heard, would reduce it to a small amount and then they’re minor. So that’s what we’re looking at is saving lives. We want it to be effective getting people around but we also want there to be no fatalities,” Hardee said.

Floyd said he knows the roads like the back of his hand and he believes the current proposed plans need improving before construction begins.

“They need to make some more changes from what they have laid out. They need to either add another light in or change the traffic pattern or where the parents drop the kids off at school. If they do, then this will be a good thing. If they don’t then we’re still going to have the same problem,” said Floyd.

Hardee said with the growth we’re seeing across the county, this project is moving the county in the right direction.

“We hear a lot that infrastructure is lagging behind with the number of people that we have moving to Horry County so this is one of the many sales tax road improvements so it’s good for future growth," said Hardee.

Construction is expected to begin this spring. The SCDOT said they estimate in the next 20 years, this road will see on average around 8,000 cars driving on it a day, so the road will be better equipped to handle more people.

You can check the progress of this project by clicking here.

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