The Sun News recently asked readers to submit their questions about the U.S. 17-S.C. 707 Back Gate Interchange Construction Project that begins today. Project leader Mike Barbee with the S.C. Department of Transportation, Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea and Andy Markunas, Horry County deputy engineer, provided answers to the following selected questions:
Question | When will the frontage road from Harbour Towne to S.C. 707 be completed?
Answer | This work is scheduled to be completed this fall.
Q | Will The Market Common area have two alternative accesses, such as the gate on Emory Road and also through the Oak Forest subdivision? Currently, the worst traffic is southbound between 3 and 6 p.m. Is there a plan to prevent this from worsening?
A | The Market Common can be accessed via the existing intersection, as well as two new access points; the Withers Connector on the northeast and the Temperance Connector on the southeast. Every effort will be made to maintain the flow of traffic and prevent any increase in the existing delays at the back gate. Drivers are encouraged to use the new access points as discussed above, as well as other routes in the regional network, such as the Harrelson Boulevard extension (to be complete in November), Carolina Bays Parkway, S.C. 544 and Kings Highway.
Q | Is the remainder of the U.S. 17 Bypass toward Harrelson Boulevard going to be repaved with wider shoulders?
A | No, the back gate project will not include this work.
Q | Is there still a traffic light planned for Shetland Lane, which is just west of the Myrtle Beach International Airport runway?
A | A signal for that intersection is being designed, although it is not funded. A developer on the west side of that location has indicated it will be needed. At this point, there's no definitive plan for a signal there, but one is anticipated at a later date.
Q | Is there still a light planned for the new intersection at South Strand Ambulatory Hospital?
A | No signal has been studied or proposed for this location.
Q | I frequently do business with Pronto Press, just north of the back gate on the frontage road. Will I be able to go to that location?
A | Yes, access will be maintained to this and all other businesses and residences.
Q | Why doesn't Palmetto Pointe Boulevard connect to Luttie Road at S.C. 707 and Big Block Road at S.C. 544?
A | There are future plans for an additional connection to S.C. 544 from Palmetto Pointe. However, this is dependent on future development and commitments from the developers of the property between S.C. 544 and Palmetto Pointe.
Q | Will the intersection still be called the back gate?
A | It's not 'officially' called the back gate now. It's a local reference. Time will probably change that, but it's going to take a while. The U.S. 17 Bypass and Farrow Parkway intersection is its proper name.
Q | What is planned for the traffic light at the intersection of Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and the U.S. 17 Bypass?
A | The light at Palmetto Pointe will be analyzed after the back gate interchange is built to see if signal time/optimization can be reconfigured.
Q | Why is this project starting during the busy summer season? Couldn't it have begun in the winter?
A | Bids were ready to be taken last fall, but it was delayed until February so $15 million in federal money could be obtained. The guidelines for getting that money led to the delay, and it was coincidental that the start date wound up being in the summer.
Q | I live just off S.C. 707, on Stonebridge Drive. This is a residential street with no sidewalk. There are already issues with drivers cutting through Stonebridge Drive to get to Palmetto Pointe Boulevard. What will be done to control the increased number of drivers that will want to cut through this road so that they can avoid the construction at S.C. 707 and U.S. 17 Bypass?
A | The county has installed speed humps on Stonebridge Drive. The intention is to deter cut-through traffic and slow down traffic going through there.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301