RIDE III committee members have narrowed down the road projects that could go before voters in 2016, which may also include 200 miles of newly paved roads and resurfaced roads throughout Horry County and some cities.
A list of 31 projects submitted through a survey of committee members was compiled and presented to the whole committee Thursday. Each member will have a chance to give a presentation at a meeting in early March to explain to other members why their road projects should be included in the proposed $535 million RIDE III project.
A formula was used to prioritize the projects. The formula included prioritization by committee members, the importance the project to the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study, whether the project was on the RIDE II list, and whether it had bike paths and sidewalks, which was something the committee felt was important for the planned projects.
The top road project is a perimeter road with a multi-use trail from U.S. 378 to U.S. 701 South. The second was an upgrade of Highway 701 to widen it to four lanes with a multi-use trail from Homewood to S.C. 22. The third was a tie between extending S.C. 31 from S.C. 9 to the North Carolina state line and improving U.S. 501 between Conway and Myrtle Beach.
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Just because a project made the list doesn’t mean it will make the referendum, however.
The whole list was estimated to cost $1.9 billion, which is why the committee needs to narrow the list down to fit within the $535 million proposed budget.
Steve Gosnell, assistant county administrator for infrastructure and regulation, said the presentations from committee members next month should bring the cost of the projects down when they get into more specifics about their wishes.
“With some of these projects, the cost will be reduced significantly when you define the scope,” Gosnell said.
Mike Barbee, project engineer with the S.C. Department of Transportation, said the DOT based cost estimates knowing the projects on the surface.
“This is based on the best information that we have without knowing anything about the projects,” Barbee said. “This is not going to guarantee that a situation like the back gate isn’t going to happen where we start drilling and find out that the soil isn’t any better than water and we have to spend 25 to $30 million just to re-enforce the soil.”
Also at the next meeting — no date is set — the committee will hear a breakdown of how many miles of roads would be paved or resurfaced through the county and in area cities if it used a proposed formula. The formula calls for 100 miles of roads to be resurfaced and 100 miles to be paved, determined on a pro-rata basis based on the miles of roads in the government’s jurisdiction compared to others. For instance, if county roads represent 60 percent of all roads in Horry County, then it will get 60 miles of roads paved and 60 miles of road resurfaced.
The committee wanted to see the breakdown for each city if it were to endorse that part of the referendum.
In RIDE II, none of the cities received money for paving or resurfacing.