MYRTLE BEACH — By spring 2014, drivers should see improvements to the stretch of Seaboard Street between Mr. Joe White Avenue and U.S. Highway 501.
Proposed improvements include bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the street and an additional lane at the intersection of Seaboard Street and Highway 501.
“Right now only one lane goes straight across to [Coastal Grand] mall,” said planner Kelly Mezzapelle. “There are so many people going through to the mall that it backs up [on Seaboard] so much that people turning right or left get stuck.”
Mezzapelle met with Seaboard Street business and property owners Thursday night to let them know about the improvements and lay out a timeline.
“Many of them are just hearing about it. So I’m going to meet with everyone one-on-one to talk specifics and make sure that what we do doesn’t impact the property negatively,” Mezzapelle said.
To fund the improvements, the city participated in what is being called a “road swap” with the S.C. Department of Transportation. In the swap, the state will pay $3.1 million for the upgrades to Seaboard Street and, in turn, the city will pay to maintain a number of state roads, said planner Kelly Mezzapelle. The entire project will cost $3.8 million, she said.
“The state will take the money they would have spent to maintain the roads and put it toward [the improvements to] Seaboard Street,” she said.
The city will now be responsible for portions of 23 roads previously maintained by the state, totaling about 8.3 miles.
City spokesman Mark Kruea said the planned upgrade to Seaboard Street have been on an improvement list for some time, but the new agreement moves the work up to begin in about a year. He said improvements to the affected segment of Seaboard Street likely would not have happened for several more years.
At Thursday’s meeting many of the owners said they were unsure where their property lines were, so Mezzapelle said the planning department will conduct a survey of the road and let owners know what’s in the public right of way. She said she expects the survey to take a couple of months.
The Mezzapelle said she hopes to have the design complete by spring 2013 when the Planning Department will put it out for a bid. She said they hope to begin construction next fall and complete the work by spring 2014 before the season begins.
“And we’ll maintain access to all of the businesses during construction,” she said.
Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.