A new light on U.S. 17 Bypass just south of the back gate could be operational by the end of next week, Myrtle Beach officials said Tuesday.
Myrtle Beach City Council approved a resolution to take ownership of the portion of Coventry Boulevard that connects the bypass with the Withers Preserve development.
The owners of the Clemson tract of property located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force based paid for the nearly $4 million project to help people traveling north on the bypass to get to The Market Common without having to use the new traffic configuration at the back gate.
“Upon you’re acceptance [of the road], we’ll start the clock on activating the signal,” Assistant City Manager Ron Andrews said. “There is a protocol that the [Department of Transportation] has that we’ll follow.”
Andrews said the light will begin flashing either Wednesday or Thursday to alert drivers of the upcoming change. Traffic will not be allowed on Coventry at that point.
Then sometime toward the end of the next week, the light will be fully activated and cars will be able to use Coventry Boulevard between the bypass and Withers Preserve.
“A lot depends on weather, so I don’t want to say a specific date,” he said. “But I’m thinking it’s going to be toward the end of next week.”
Drivers traveling south on U.S. 17 Bypass will have a new left-turn lane get onto Coventry Boulevard. Those on Coventry will have two left-turn lanes, one right-turn lane and one lane to go straight across to the hospital.
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.