The S.C. Department of Transportation is seeking public comment through Aug. 6 on five roads in the region, which are slated to be improved by next spring.
Funding for the roads are part of the 2014 Federal Aid Pavement Improvement Program. Projects statewide will cost upwards of $112 million, about $19.5 million of which spent in District 5, which includes Horry and Georgetown counties. The project will cover about five miles of roads in Georgetown County and 14 miles in Horry.
“We’ve got way more roads than we have money for,” said Jim Feda, director of maintenance for the S.C. Department of Transportation. “Based on the funding that’s available, they’ll go down the list if proposed projects and select the ones they will do.”
In Horry County, the patching and paving projects include: nearly five miles of road along U.S. 76, east of Nichols; more than five miles along U.S. 701, south of Conway; and about 3 1/2 miles of S.C. 9 northwest of Loris. In Georgetown County, nearly four miles of Browns Ferry Road, south of S.C. 41 will be addressed, and about a mile and a half of Old Pee Dee Road, just north of the Carvers Bay Road intersection.
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Feda said the selection process for the federal and state roads chosen is a selective one. The state district office reviews the significance of the route, like whether it’s a connector road or school route. Then, several factors are considered, including pavement condition, truck traffic, vehicular traffic, percentage of road that needs to be patched and the maintenance cost, Feda said. Those who would like to make a comment about the roads chosen may send comments to Mr. Mark Pleasant, 955 Park St., P.O. Box 191, Columbia, SC 29202.
Feda said if there are no comments to set the projects behind, they should be let to bid between November and January.
“We’ll get comments from the public that say we should do this road instead of that road,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll even get comments from advocacy groups.”
The most notable stall in project completion came in 2011 when the Coastal Conservation League submitted comments for the S.C. 31 extension project and widening of S.C. 707, costing, what state officials say, an additional $20 million in project costs. An organizer of the league has denied the delay was caused by the league.
Feda said the comments can “vary from one end of the spectrum to the other.”
“Some of them are very viable comments,” he said. “We just don’t have the funding to accommodate them.”