New traffic light could soon be found on US 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach south of back gate

mprabhu@thesunnews.comNovember 13, 2013 

— A private developer is extending Coventry Boulevard through the Emmens Preserve neighborhood to connect it with U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach, which potentially could lead to a new traffic light just south of the back gate.

The $3.5 to $4 million project is being paid for by the owners of the Clemson tract of property located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and it will then be deeded to the city of Myrtle Beach, city spokesman Mark Kruea said. Developers hope to complete construction by early summer 2014.

Thomas & Hutton, the engineering company managing the project, recently proposed placing a traffic light at the intersection of what will become Coventry Boulevard – across from Esso Road – and U.S. 17 Bypass. They would need an encroachment permit from the S.C. Department of Transportation. The permit request has not yet been submitted, Kruea said.

Michael Bethea, DOT district traffic engineer, said the city and DOT both need to approve the signalization of that intersection.

Bethea said he did not have a timeline for when a decision would be made, but Kruea said he did not believe the permitting process would slow down the completion of the project.

According to a memorandum sent to DOT from Thomas & Hutton, about 43,500 vehicles per day pass by the future Coventry Boulevard intersection with the bypass.

“Given the anticipated 2015 volumes and the proposed lane configuration, the intersection should be signalized as part of the initial construction,” Thomas & Hutton traffic engineer Jeff Ingham wrote in the memo.

Developers said the need of a signal is based on guidelines from the Manual of Uniform Traffic control Devices, adding that peak-hour volume estimates for 2015 exceed the requirements.

Once the road is complete, drivers heading north on the bypass would be able to avoid the back gate when going to The Market Common, by using Coventry Boulevard.

“It would have a four-lane, divided highway look all the way to U.S. 17,” Kruea said.

The developers hope to provide two left-turn lanes, a through lane and a right-turn lane from Coventry; two left-turn lanes from southbound U.S. 17 Bypass on to Coventry; and off-set left-turn lane within the media of the bypass in both directions; and a pedestrian crosswalk across Coventry Boulevard.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.

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