Carolina Forest residents share concerns about growth without infrastructure development

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 9:09 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) -- It’s become one of the fastest-growing communities in Horry County, but Carolina Forest isn’t just building homes anymore.

You may notice some increased traffic at the intersection of River Oaks Drive and Carolina Forest Boulevard where several projects are under construction.

However, there are currently no traffic lights to help people get in or out of the new shopping center.

Several residents say it’s a prime example of one of the biggest issues all across Horry County, a lack of infrastructure compared to the rapid growth and development.

“We just have to catch up with our roadways and infrastructure,” said Bo Ives.

From grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and four-story apartment complexes a lot of being built along the intersection of Carolina Forest Boulevard and River Oaks Drive at The Mill Marketplace.

Former Carolina Forest Civic Association President and long-time resident Bo Ives says he’s been watching this community grow for over 20 years.

“The lights are timed longer now but drivers are rushing through the light so they don’t have to sit there for another five minutes and it’s building frustration county-wide,” said Ives.

With over 40,000 residents living along Carolina Forest Boulevard, many traffic issues were addressed several years ago when the road was widened and new traffic signals were added.

However, some of those improvements already need to be upgraded in certain areas.

“What we’re against is not catching up with the infrastructure and to be honest we’re over 20 years behind,” said Carole vanSickler.

Ives and vanSickler recently served on the RIDE IV Advisory Committee and say the infrastructure issue goes far beyond Carolina Forest.

“We are not meeting the expectation of what people came here for or those who grew up here want to maintain,” said Ives.

The proposed plans for RIDE IV will now go before several more committees before finally going to Horry County Council.

“It’s a 30-year problem for Horry County and somehow these county leaders need to work on it and get our infrastructure in place,” says vanSicker

Ives and vanSickler are encouraging more residents in Carolina Forest to get involved by attending county meetings or joining subcommittees to help voice any concerns they may have about their growing community.