Business owners push for road project to start sooner rather than later

Business owners push for road project to start sooner rather than later

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – While the project to connect Fred Nash Boulevard and Harrelson Boulevard is on schedule, those who it affects most want to see the work start sooner rather than later.

"We've all been on this road for a long time, so you know we've been through a lot and you know we just want them to get done. Finish the project. You know, don't come back seven or eight months later, put up stop signs or roundabouts or whatever. Just say what you're going to do and do it," said Joe Miller, of Joe's Diner by the Airport.

When Miller says these businesses have been through a lot, he means it.

"Back in 2015, in December, when they closed down the main road down here and then they closed down Fred Nash at the same, that's where we took a 50, 60 percent hit," he said.

Joe's Diner isn't alone. Over at Carolina Auto Sales, it was hard not to feel it too.

"We did definitely hit a bump as far as business goes," said manager Gigi Mendez.

While things have certainly bounced back for both businesses - with loyal customers who know how to find them - the reality is some people can't.

"Most people don't. The GPS, I don't know why, it just doesn't read. It doesn't pinpoint us. So I think once they get everything straightened out, we will have a better chance of being located," Mendez said.

Right now, there is more construction on Fred Nash Boulevard, bringing in more trucks, more traffic and, soon, more than 500 new homes.

"Basically there is only two ways in and out; they need another avenue. They need to connect it," Miller said.

On his way to work at the diner Wednesday morning, Miller noticed signage for a new four-way stop coming on what he was told would be Aug. 14.

Right now, he wonders why this would be taking priority over the real issue.

"I mean to just go ahead and throw up a four-way stop, I just don't understand, especially with school starting in the next couple of weeks," Miller said.

While he is concerned the project to connect Fred Nash Boulevard to Harrelson Boulevard will jeopardize the Diner's much-needed parking, Miller knows it will be best for business.

"Definitely going to help, definitely going to increase business for everybody on this road, not just me," he said.

According to Horry County officials, this project is a South Carolina Department of Transportation, with the DOT being over the Fred Nash extension project for RIDE III.

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