New traffic light, exit lanes coming to entrance of Carolina Forest High School

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 8:23 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - After years of public outcry, changes are coming for one of Carolina Forest’s most infamous intersections.

Horry County Schools announced a new traffic light and lane widening coming to the front of Carolina Forest High School and Gardner Lacy Road.

“I was always wishing that maybe somebody might do something about,” said Sitar Charles, while waiting to pick up his grandchildren from school.

Charles was one of the first in line to pick up his grandkids from the school Thursday, except he wasn’t really in line.

He pulled off to the shoulder of Gardner Lacy Road to avoid the car line altogether.

“I can’t get out of there because of the line and you’ve got so much traffic going here,” said Charles.

Charles explained that he’s wished for a long time something would be done about the line, more specifically the intersection just in front of the school.

“The time seems to be appropriate,” said Joe Burch, Planning Coordinator for Horry County Schools. “The amount of traffic coming through there now from the other developments past the high school has reached a point that it is impacting that intersection.”

HCS announced it has set aside money to add some new exit lanes, move the marquee sign and improve the drainage to make way for a new signalized intersection.

Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught represents the area and is more than familiar with the traffic issues. He’s had two kids come through Carolina Forest High School.

“When you’re going in to pick them up in the afternoon, you go around the curve and that’s where the people start parking,” said Vaught. “So when you go in to pull out, you can’t really see behind you very well.

Vaught says he’s been pushing for something to be done with that intersection for years, and that it may just be the first step toward making the whole of Gardner Lacy Road safer.

He says the next problem to solve is all the people cutting through developments to get around Carolina Forest.

“I think that everybody feels the end-all-be-all solution would be a connector going all the way through and hooking up with International Drive,” said Vaught. “That is far down the road.”

Vaught added the connection would be an expensive project because a lot of the land the extension would cut through is wetlands.

In the meantime, Charles will just have to settle for the improvements to the infamous intersection at the high school that’s caused him headaches for years.

“Now that you’re saying about a light - I think that’s going to help,” he said.

Vaught says the Gardner Lacy Road extension will likely be a Ride 4 project. The county is wrapping up Ride 3 right now, so there’s still a while to wait before that.

As for the new intersection at Carolina Forest High School, Horry County Schools has already set aside money in its 2022-23 budget to knock out its portion in the next year or so.

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