Traffic light planned for busy intersection near school in Horry County

jrodriguez@thesunnews.comDecember 13, 2013 

Holmestown Road at Scipio Lane will soon have a traffic light to help address the heavy traffic that results from Burgess Elementary School and several county buildings being located in that area.

Some say the light comes at a perfect time considering plans for nearby road construction projects such as the widening of S.C. 707 and the extension of S.C. 31, which may create heavier traffic volumes for Holmestown Road.

Holmestown Road, which runs east and west, is an extension of Glenns Bay Road on the west side of U.S. 17 Bypass, and extends to S.C. 707.

Scipio Lane, where the South Strand Recreation Center, the South Strand Government Complex, a county recycling center, and a fire station are located, intersects north and south with Holmestown Road. It also provides access to Burgess Elementary.

Mike Bethea, district traffic engineer with the S.C. Department of Transportation, said the state performed the study for the light and is currently preparing the ground for installation.

“We looked at the traffic volume and looked at the data and the accident history, with the school back there, it justified a traffic signal,” Bethea said. “The main reason for the traffic signal is the traffic volume. There’ve been some accidents there, but not a high number of accidents.”

Al Jordan, president of the Greater Burgess Community Association, said there may be a link to the Burgess Elementary School traffic and the tied-up traffic on Holmestown.

“I think that probably an awful lot of the traffic problems occur around the school hours,” Jordan said. “I’ve heard people in the community talk about how difficult it is to get out of there for people at the school, but also at the new recreation center and the South Strand complex recycling center. I know it’s a problem area and I hear complaints about it.”

Jordan said the planned widening of S.C.707, which is slated to be completed by 2017, will bode well with this traffic light.

“Holmestown does carry a lot of traffic. In the future, with the widening of 707 and 31, it’s going to carry even more,” Jordan said. “It’s also going to be complicated here with the construction of Glenns Bay Road and a new interchange at Glenns Bay, Holmestown and the Bypass. That’s going to cause additional headaches. In my mind, almost more important than the inconvenience is the safety issue. I’ve done it myself, but I get concerned when people have to wait too long to get out, they start to take chances. That is something that’s human nature, but people end up doing kind of stupid things.”

Jordan was referring to the $76 million widening of Glenns Bay Road, which will take it to three lanes and will include the construction of a grade-separated interchange at U.S. 17 Bypass. The project, for which the state has acquired most of the right-of-way, is scheduled to go out for bids in the spring.

Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for the county, said the county is pleased with the announcement of the light.

“It gets a lot of traffic so that’s great that it gets a stop light planned for that area,” Bourcier said. “With the 707 widening and Glenns Bay, Holmestown will receive additional traffic.”

Bethea said the state hopes to complete the installation of the light by the start of 2014, or at least near the start of the second semester at Burgess Elementary.

“That’s what we’re shooting for, but we’ll have to see how the weather holds up,” Bethea said.

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him at Twitter.com/TSN_jrodriguez.

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