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U.S. 501 realignment in Myrtle Beach expected to start in 2023

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s one of the most traveled roads heading into Myrtle Beach, and soon, U.S. 501 will expand to four lanes all the way into downtown Myrtle Beach.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is working to purchase the right of way to get this project officially underway, which will help alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the intersection.

The $13.9 million project is part of Horry County’s RIDE III program. On the RIDE III dashboard, the project status is still on schedule.

In order to start construction, two buildings will need to be demolished in order to connect U.S. 501 to 7th Avenue North near Oak Street, this includes Ed’s Hobby Shop and the Hong Kong Supermarket.

“We pretty much have to take the road right through if we’re going to realign U.S. 501 so we will have to compensate them,” said Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught.

Vaught said Highway 501 has been the gateway to Myrtle Beach for decades and the project is long overdue.

“I think this project can help clean up that area,” said Vaught.

Downtown Development Director Lauren Clever said the realignment will create a new route into an area of downtown Myrtle Beach some have never traveled before.

“U.S. 501 is a key corridor that takes you to the oceanfront and this project creates a whole new area for the Arts and Innovation District to expand upon and develop,” said Clever.

She said the city and SCDOT worked together on the project design which is focused on making this area more pedestrian-friendly.

“It will be cool to have different pathways connecting to greenways, different restaurants, jobs or the library,” said Clever.

While some will be impacted, Vaught believes the current plan is the best option that impacts the least amount of businesses and homeowners.

“It’s not as bad as it could’ve been if it was in a different location,” said Vaught.

WMBF News did reach out to the owners of Ed’s Hobby Shop who said they haven’t heard from SCDOT about the project plans.

SCDOT said they hope to have the right of way acquisition purchased by next spring and start construction in Summer 2023.

The project is expected to take about a year and a half to complete.

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