New traffic light to be installed at Carolina Forest HS following safety concerns

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 3:13 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:17 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Horry County and Horry County Schools have come together to make the entrance of one high school safer.

The county and school district announced on Thursday that plans are moving forward to install a traffic light at Gardner Lacy Road at the entrance of Carolina Forest High School.

WMBF News reported in the past that parents were concerned over what they called a “dangerous” school drop-off and pick-up situation at the high school.

Parents told us they had witnessed students getting out of cars and walking through traffic in order to get to school on time because of the traffic back-ups on the road.

RELATED COVERAGE | Parents express concerns over dangerous school drop-off, pick-up

Traffic backed up along Gardner Lacy Road before school lets out at Carolina Forest High School.
Traffic backed up along Gardner Lacy Road before school lets out at Carolina Forest High School.(Source: WMBF News)

Horry County and the school district listened to the concerns of parents and teachers, and in 2022, the two began discussions on how to address safety while also looking at a safer flow of traffic along Gardner Lacy Road.

Work and design plans for the new traffic light began in January.

Then in August, Horry County Schools acquired the easements needed for the improvements while Horry County Engineering finalized the design plans for the traffic light installment.

Parent Stephen Hand said the number one priority is making sure the students are safe when getting to school.

“What we’ve asked for is a traffic light here to allow parents to come out and there be a smooth stream of traffic,” Hand said. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about the safety of the students. It’s not about the convenience of the parents, it’s about the safety of the students.”

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Hand said he hopes in the meantime, something will be done this semester to mitigate the traffic because he said the pick-up and drop-off line is getting out of control.

“Parents that are parking all along Gardner Lacy, and you see how busy this road is, all along Gardner Lacy and having those students walk out of the campus of the school and be picked up along Gardner Lacy,” Hand explained. “What blows my mind is how you have police officers pulling people over for speeding, but clearly not observing the ‘No Parking’ signs that are along the road.”

The design for the intersection will include widening for additional lanes on the school’s access road.

Crews will begin with utility relocation, which will then be followed by road widening and traffic light installation work.