Pawleys Island, S.C. — Preliminary engineering work on a plan to close the median on Highway 17 in Pawleys Island is nearly complete and the acquisition of rights of way has begun.
An update on the project was given at the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study meeting on Friday.
The $2.75 million project calls for two miles of the so-called “suicide lane” to be filled in with landscaping from the North Causeway to Martin Luther King Road to cut down on the number of places where drivers can make turns.
Deceleration and acceleration lanes will be added, along with traffic lights in front of the Post Office, and at Hotel Drive, between the Fresh Market and the Pawleys Island Inn.
Although the S.C. Department of Transportation held pubic meetings on the project nearly a year ago, and changed its conceptual plans based on public comments, opposition to the plan has grown since that time.
A petition signed by more than 80 Pawleys Island business owners asking that the project be reconsidered was presented to County Council last year.
Construction of the new median could begin in 2014.
The plan can be viewed at www.gsats.org.
Safe Routes to Schools
Two Safe Routes to Schools projects in Georgetown County are also moving forward.
Preliminary engineering is complete and easements have been acquired for a multi-use path on Waverly Road in Pawleys Island in the area of Waccamaw Elementary School. The Waverly path will eventually connect with a multi-use path planned for Kings River Road.
Preliminary engineering has just started for a multi-use path on Anthuan Maybank Drive in Georgetown in the area of Georgetown Middle and High schools.
There is $200,000 budgeted for each project.
The Safe Routes to Schools program promotes walking and bicycling to school.
Funding moved back
Funding for two Georgetown County projects was moved back:
• $1 million for improvements to the intersection of Martin Luther King Road and Petrigru Road in Pawleys Island was moved to 2014.
• $2 million for the widening of Black River Road in Georgetown was moved to 2017 and 2018. The funding is evenly split between both years.
Funding for improvements to U.S. Highway 17 at Highmarket Street in Georgetown, currently budgeted at $425,000, was moved forward from 2015 to 2014. Preliminary engineering for the project is underway.
Improvements to Highway 17 and Willbrook Boulevard in Litchfield are budgeted for $200,000 in 2013. Preliminary engineering for the project is nearly compete.
Two projects funded
Two Georgetown County projects are funded in 2013 and 2014:
• $15,000 in 2013 and $435,000 in 2014 for improvements to the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 701 in Georgetown. Preliminary engineering for the project is underway.
• $100,000 in 2013 and $600,000 in 2014 for improvements to the intersection of Highway 701 and Wedgefield Drive in Georgetown. Preliminary engineering for the project is underway.
In other business
• A plan to spend more than $1 million on five electronic message signs in Murrells Inlet, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Conway could be altered after several members of the Transportation Study questioned if all the signs were worth the money.
The signs would be used to alert drivers to alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion, and could also announce evacuation routes or Amber alerts.
A few members thought at least one sign could be eliminated and the money used to improve signage in other areas, such as Conway.
• State Rep. Nelson Hardwick, R-106, was re-elected GSATS chairman, and state Rep. Stephen Goldfinch, R-108, was elected vice chairman.
By Chris Sokoloski
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