Report: 53% of Myrtle Beach area roads in poor, mediocre condition

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 12:17 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – More than half of Myrtle Beach area roads are in poor or mediocre condition, according to a national transportation report.

TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, released the report on South Carolina’s road and bridge conditions, congestion, safety and the funding needed to fix these key areas.

The report found that traffic congestion is getting worse in South Carolina, costing drivers $2.1 billion each year in lost time and wasted fuel, which is an average of $745 per drive in the Myrtle Beach area.

“The average driver in the Myrtle Beach area loses 32 hours and wastes 14 gallons of fuel annually as a result of congestion,” according to TRIP’s report.

The director of policy and research for TRIP Rocky Moretti added, in Myrtle Beach, motorists could be losing $745 annually due to traffic congestion.

“That’s a lot of gas,” said Myrtle Beach resident Tiffany Frisby. “That’s a lot of money. I need it right now.”

The report also analyzed road conditions in the Palmetto State.

According to the report, 53% of state-maintained roads in Myrtle Beach are in poor or mediocre condition. Statewide, 43% of South Carolina’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.

It also found that 4% of bridges in Myrtle Beach are rated poor/structurally deficient condition.

“Bridges that are rated poor/structurally deficient have significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components,” the TRIP report states.

South Carolina’s roads, highways and bridges are funded by local, state and federal governments, so to address the lack of transportation funding the South Carolina legislature passed Act 40 in 2017, which raises an additional $600 million every year for repairs and improvements to state roads, highways and bridges. The funding comes from an increase in gas tax and car registration fees.

Since 2018, the South Carolina Department of Transportation has been able to start 4,000 miles of paving projects, partly due to the additional funding provided by Act 40.

But despite the additional revenue, TRIP’s report found that the SCDOT still faces an annual $403 million gap in funds needed to make improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and mass transit systems.

The report found that as South Carolina’s population grows, the state will need to look for opportunities to increase transportation investment from all levels of government – federal, state and local.

South Carolina Department of Transportation Statement on TRIP report:

Today’s report from the National TRIP organization reinforces what South Carolinians are seeing on our roads each day – active road improvement projects and work zones in all 46 counties. Thanks to the investments by the General Assembly in the 2017 Roads Bill, SCDOT has been able to triple our construction work. The TRIP report states that those investments have allowed SCDOT to make significant improvements to our pavements and bridges, progress toward a state of good repair that was promised in 2017.

The TRIP report also reinforces something else South Carolinians see every day on our highways: congestion, which continues to increase. South Carolina is the 10th fastest growing state in the nation, and our transportation network must keep pace. While the 2017 Roads Bill provided a significant funding boost, it still fell just short of providing sufficient funding to deal with the explosive growth in our state.

Congestion needs to be addressed on our urban and rural interstates, such accelerating the widening of I-26 between Charleston and Columbia. In addition, congestion and economic development needs must be tackled within communities all across South Carolina. The issue of congestion, delay and unreliability of the transportation network impacts every South Carolinian on a daily basis. Whether it is getting to work or school on time or the delivery of packages and freight all across the state, it matters if the network is operating smoothly.

State and federal lawmakers are currently considering new one-time funding for roads from the American Rescue Plan Act and sustained federal funding increases for transportation infrastructure. Taken together, they represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve more of South Carolina’s roads and bridges more quickly to – not only get us to a state of good repair but also to begin to deal with the rapid growth in our state and to guard our future economic prosperity.

I respectfully urge Congress to act to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Act to fund road and bridge work and for our state policy makers to continue their commitment to investing in infrastructure here in South Carolina.

- Secretary of Transportation, Christy Hall, P.E.

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