New traffic light on U.S. 17 Bypass expected sometime this fall

07/18/2014 10:24 PM

07/18/2014 10:26 PM

The beginnings of a new traffic light on U.S. 17 Bypass are in place and the S.C. Department of Transportation is waiting for turn lanes to be installed before making the signal functional.

Thomas & Cutton, the engineering company managing the $3.5 to $4 million project, is extending Coventry Boulevard – across from Esso Road – through the Emmens Preserve neighborhood near The Market Common to connect it with U.S. 17 Bypass.

The project is being paid for by the owners of the Clemson tract of property located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

Tim Collins, assistant resident maintenance engineer with SCDOT, said the mast arms are up and the encroachment permit has been approved, allowing the light to be activated. He said he expects the light to be operational in the next few months.

Construction on the road was expected to be complete by early summer, but Walter Warren, project manager with Thomas & Cutton, said he expects it sometime this fall.

Warren declined to give a specific date of completion or any further details on the project. The city will take ownership of the road after it is completed.

“By allowing traffic headed toward The Market Common to use Coventry Boulevard, it will help cut down traffic at the back gate,” city spokesman Mark Kruea said.

According to a memorandum sent to DOT from Thomas & Hutton, about 43,500 vehicles per day pass by the future Coventry Boulevard intersection with the bypass.

“Given the anticipated 2015 volumes and the proposed lane configuration, the intersection should be signalized as part of the initial construction,” Thomas & Hutton traffic engineer Jeff Ingham wrote in the memo.

Developers said the need of a signal is based on guidelines from the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices, adding that peak-hour volume estimates for 2015 exceed the requirements.

Once the road is complete, drivers heading north on the bypass would be able to avoid the back gate when going to The Market Common by using Coventry Boulevard.

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