Residents here got the first look Wednesday night at the region’s new master transportation plan of proposed new road construction, bike paths and other regional needs prioritized through 2040.
The list is updated every five years to include new projects based on resident input and requests of local officials, and now contains 96 projects needed across the Grand Strand from Georgetown to Brunswick County across the state line.
Mark Hoeweler, director of the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS), says the list is like a menu for public officials to choose from, when funding becomes available.
And getting a project on the list is an important step in obtaining funding, as numerous projects approved for RIDE III originated from the study, Hoeweler said.
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“The whole objective of it is to take a look into the future and see what infrastructure is needed to deal with the anticipated growth,” Hoeweler said.
For North Myrtle Beach, new road construction projects include a new two-lane divided parkway in North Myrtle Beach between Long Bay Road and Champions Boulevard, and a new road connecting Water Tower Road and Long Bay Road with a multipurpose path connecting to Waterlily and Water Tower Road.
Connecting Sandbridge Loop to Bournetrail Water Lily Road also made the list, as did interchange ramp improvements on Edge Parkway and S.C. 31.
“GSATS is an important component of the Grand Strand's immediate and long-range planning process,” said S.C. Representative Greg Duckworth. “Understanding our regional growth and how it influences our transportation demands is crucial at staying ahead of it.”
Duckworth attended the public hearing as well as a community meeting at the
St. Joseph Baptist Church on Sandridge Road, and said it underscored the importance of this process.
“The Sandridge community has experienced significant growth in recent years and is facing additional development impacts in the immediate future. The Grand Strand Area Transportation Study, in context with county-driven community specific planning is what can make the difference between congestion with urban sprawl and a thoughtfully derived solution to preserve and enhance the quality of life for our citizens,” Duckworth said.
The plans include connecting Sandridge Road to the Robert Edge Parkway signal.
Projects also include extending 30th South to Wiley Drive, connecting Madison Drive to Poinsett Street, and connecting Outrigger Road with Hilton Drive near 27th South.
And, recommendations call for converting the existing interchange at Robert Edge Parkway to another design to improve traffic flows and eliminate left-turn conflicts.
The purpose of the transpiration study organization is to also identify potential sources of funding for the projects from the local, state and federal level.
Federal funding is not even available unless the project first makes this list.