Wondering how you might navigate Bikefest traffic?
There’s an app for that.
Local officials on Thursday unveiled a free app that will help drivers get around the Grand Strand during the Memorial Day weekend which attracts crowds for the holiday and for the annual Atlantic Beach Bikefest.
A 23-mile traffic loop will be in place from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. that weekend to help control the flow of motorcycles and other vehicles. The Bikefest app, which is available through the Horry County website, horrycounty.org, will provide real-time accident information and other details about the route.
“We’re living in a society now where everybody wants an app on their phone or their iPad,” said Tim Oliver, who oversees Horry County’s IT/GIS department. “The more information that’s available, the better prepared everybody is.”
Officials explained the app during a meeting of the Bikefest Task Force. The task force consists of local officials from various agencies who are preparing for the upcoming motorcycle rally. The group was formed to improve event safety after three people died and seven were injured in eight Ocean Boulevard shootings during the last Memorial Day weekend.
Along with the app, Myrtle Beach and Horry County have launched special Bikefest pages on their government websites.
County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce will operate a centralized website that includes links to the pages of each municipality and the county so viewers can see information about the rules and regulations in individual jurisdictions.
Bourcier said officials are still finalizing the traffic management plan around Myrtle Beach International Airport because the Bikefest loop will affect that area during some flight times.
The loop map may be tweaked as the event approaches, Bourcier said, but there’s a general consensus about the main route.
The loop routes drivers from 29th Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard south and around to Kings Highway, north to Harrelson Boulevard – which turns into George Bishop Parkway – west to Waccamaw Boulevard, which runs next to U.S. 501, onto S.C. 31 heading north to Grissom Parkway south, then onto U.S. 17 Bypass and down 29th Avenue North.
While the new app will provide real-time accident information, Oliver said officials are still considering whether to include other traffic data on it as well.
Horry County Emergency Management Director Randy Webster, who is overseeing the task force, said state and local agencies have long collaborated on hurricane preparedness. The task force has allowed them to use the same approach for a different event.
“This isn’t foreign,” he said. “It’s the same thing we do in preparation for hurricane season. … We’re used to working together as a group.”
So far, he said, things seem to be going well.
“There’s no major hiccups being brought up at all,” he said. “To me, that’s one of the critical pieces. It’s all working. It’s coming together. There’s still some work to do, which is obvious, but it’s getting closer.”