DOT hosting public hearing at Socastee High on SC 31 extension, SC 707 widening

Scott Gray has difficulties every day trying to get out his Brynfield Park subdivision in the Socastee area and onto S.C. 707.

The timing of the traffic is rough, Gray said, and the amount of cars doesn’t help matters either.

“It’s a pain in the butt,” Gray said. He is completely in favor of widening S.C. 707.

It’s comments like those – concerns are welcome, too – the S.C. Department of Transportation is looking for when it hosts a public forum Tuesday night at Socastee High School. The forum will adresss not only widening S.C. 707 to five lanes from Enterprise Road to U.S. 17 Bypass at Murrells Inlet, but also the next phase of the S.C. 31 extension from S.C. 544 down to S.C. 707.

“It’s been a couple of years since we’ve had some hearings on those comments. There’s still a fair amount of interest,” said Mike Barbee, DOT’s project manager for the road extension.

He added he hasn’t received a lot of comments regarding the projects in advance of Tuesday’s meeting. Those he has gotten have been questions about the timeline.

Barbee said the permit process is ongoing, and hopes are to get it to contract in the spring or summer and begin construction in late summer 2013. The work is still scheduled to last for three years, with an estimated completion in the fall of 2016.

The S.C. 31 extension is budgeted around $215 million, Barbee said. The S.C. 707 widening has a current price tag between $85 and $95 million.

The funding was promised by the state infrastructure bank and to be matched with county money collected through the 1-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2006.