More parking to open at Myrtle Beach airport before summer

03/12/2014 5:26 PM

03/12/2014 5:26 PM

Myrtle Beach International Airport officials are hoping to complete the first phase of a $2.1 million parking lot improvement project before the Memorial Day kickoff to the summer tourist season.

About 575 parking spaces are expected to be added by May 24, through the first phase of a two-phase overhaul of some of the parking areas at the airport.

New base material, new sidewalks and new entrances and exits to the access road around the airport are planned for the credit card parking lot. This renovation will make the credit card lot the biggest of the three lots at the airport with 774 spaces when completed. The short term lot has 184 spaces and the long-term parking lot has 565 spaces.

“It’s basically a big mud hole right now,” said Mike Illes, operations manager at the airport. “We’re looking at trying to get done by mid-to late May to accommodate the pre-Memorial Day visitors and address the parking problem we have here.”

Kirk Lovell, marketing director for the county’s department of airports, said cars are finding any spots to slide into. This project should alleviate most of the parking problem.

The project is being funded completely with money from the county’s Department of Airports. The first phase of the two-phase project will mean 575 parking spaces should be ready by May 24.

Then, C.L. Benton & Sons, the contractor for the job, will close the current credit card parking lot to renovate it by the end of July. That will create 199 parking spaces, airport officials said.

Pat Apone, airport director, said those who park in the credit card parking area will have ample time to know when the existing credit card lot, or phase 2, will begin. The airport has had to close a portion of the parking lot before and passengers complied with the signs notifying them of the impending construction.

“We didn’t have to tow anybody,” Apone said of the last parking lot project.

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