MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The Highway 31 extension project is now waiting on the Corps of Engineers at the federal level to approve the permits before construction can start. Officials gave the plans to the federal level back in spring of 2010. The construction will cost up to $225 million and a lot of hard work has gone into designing and engineering the project.

Officials say it has been a complicated process finding the best route for the road that would cause the least amount of impact to the wetlands. They have already cleared and grubbed some spots to help move the project forward. They say because the road is closed right now, construction should not cause a lot of inconveniences. The trouble will present when the road connects to 707.
Danny Isaac, DOT Committee Chairman says, "Designing and engineering a road of this size and quality-it's a very limited access road, it's interstate quality, very difficult, very time consuming, working through wetlands, around wetlands trying to protect the environment all of these are just difficult processes we have to go through."
After the federal level gives the go-ahead, there will be a bidding process for a contractor. Major construction should start by the beginning of 2012 to extend the road all the way to 707. Money for the project came from the State Infrastructure Bank that the state gave to Horry County because we had the funds to match due to our penny sales tax and local commitment to road projects.

Local drivers say the road will save them time and gas. Scott Robinson says, "It makes it easy to plan, it's one shot, not a lot of traffic on 31. Not a lot of people know about it from out of town so it's a locals way. As more people learn about it gives you plenty of access to get there quick. It really saves you a lot of time and time is a precious commodity."

Business owners say it will bring in more revenue. Peter Curry with Southern Cycles says, "It will bring more traffic over here instead of people running over to the bypass sitting in traffic all night. They'll actually be able to make decent time and come by before everybody closes."

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