New equipment to be used for Back gate project in Myrtle Beach

jrodriguez@thesunnews.comDecember 18, 2013 

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Construction workers set to place one of the vital pieces of the 130-girder overpass puzzle at the intersection of U.S. 17 Bypass and S.C. 707 were ready to try again Wednesday night after a failed attempt the night before.

“The contractor’s plan for moving the girders laterally did not work and the girders could not be connected properly,” said Lisa Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County, of the first attempt. A state transportation official referred all questions to Bourcier. “Balfour Beatty (plc) is implementing a new plan utilizing different equipment [Wednesday] evening.”

The $121.7 million project, known locally as the back gate construction because of its proximity to the old back gate of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, is part of a larger one-cent sales tax program approved by voters in 2006.

The aim of the project is to build an overpass that eliminates the stoplight at the Farrow Parkway/S.C. 707 intersection, and keeps U.S. 17 Bypass traffic moving. It is estimated that about 70,000 cars and trucks pass through that intersection during peak season.

Bourcier said early Wednesday that the proposed engineering method didn’t work to allow for the final connection of the girder. She said the second attempt was to begin at 10 p.m. and continue through Wednesday night.

The project has a total of 130 girders – 65 in each direction on the Bypass.

Workers spent much of the summer focused on the underground portions of the project and the mechanical reinforcement of the soil at the location.

On Tuesday night, work started at the back gate around 10 p.m. and a girder on the southbound lane was put up. At about 1 a.m. work slowed. but it slowed around 1 a.m., and a girder on the southbound lane was put up. After the work slowed, About an hour later ropes were thrown around the girder, and it was removed.

Bourcier said the setback mostly impacted traffic and not much else.

“This does not affect the project financially, and we are still estimating to complete the project on time,” which is slated to be completed by August.

Once the southbound girders are set, the construction company will shift the focus to the northbound lane.

Then, the traffic pattern will be similar to the past two nights, where motorists were able to travel north and south on Highway 17 Bypass, but no left turns were allowed from Highway 17 Bypass at the intersection of S.C. 707 and Farrow Parkway.

“Once this work is complete the same operation and traffic patterns will be done when the steel girders are set for the north bound bridge, which will be announced at a later date,” Bourcier said.

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him at

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